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THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
by LEWIS CARROLL
One thing was certainthat the WHITE kitten had had nothing to
do with it:--it was the black kitten's fault entirely. For the
white kitten had been having its face washed by the old cat for
the last quarter of an hour (and bearing it pretty well
considering); so you see that it COULDN'T have had any hand in
The way Dinah washed her children's faces was this: first she
held the poor thing down by its ear with one pawand then with
the other paw she rubbed its face all overthe wrong way
beginning at the nose: and just nowas I saidshe was hard at
work on the white kittenwhich was lying quite still and trying
to purr--no doubt feeling that it was all meant for its good.
But the black kitten had been finished with earlier in the
afternoonand sowhile Alice was sitting curled up in a corner
of the great arm-chairhalf talking to herself and half asleep
the kitten had been having a grand game of romps with the ball of
worsted Alice had been trying to wind upand had been rolling it
up and down till it had all come undone again; and there it was
spread over the hearth-rugall knots and tangleswith the
kitten running after its own tail in the middle.
`Ohyou wicked little thing!' cried Alicecatching up the
kittenand giving it a little kiss to make it understand that it
was in disgrace. `ReallyDinah ought to have taught you better
manners! You OUGHTDinahyou know you ought!' she added
looking reproachfully at the old catand speaking in as cross a
voice as she could manage--and then she scrambled back into the
arm-chairtaking the kitten and the worsted with herand began
winding up the ball again. But she didn't get on very fastas
she was talking all the timesometimes to the kittenand
sometimes to herself. Kitty sat very demurely on her knee
pretending to watch the progress of the windingand now and then
putting out one paw and gently touching the ballas if it would
be glad to helpif it might.
`Do you know what to-morrow isKitty?' Alice began. `You'd
have guessed if you'd been up in the window with me--only Dinah
was making you tidyso you couldn't. I was watching the boys
getting in sticks for the bonfire--and it wants plenty of
sticksKitty! Only it got so coldand it snowed sothey had
to leave off. Never mindKittywe'll go and see the bonfire
to-morrow.' Here Alice wound two or three turns of the worsted
round the kitten's neckjust to see how it would look: this led
to a scramblein which the ball rolled down upon the floorand
yards and yards of it got unwound again.
`Do you knowI was so angryKitty' Alice went on as soon as
they were comfortably settled again`when I saw all the mischief
you had been doingI was very nearly opening the windowand
putting you out into the snow! And you'd have deserved ityou
little mischievous darling! What have you got to say for
yourself? Now don't interrupt me!' she went onholding up one
finger. `I'm going to tell you all your faults. Number one:
you squeaked twice while Dinah was washing your face this
morning. Now you can't deny itKitty: I heard you! What that
you say?' (pretending that the kitten was speaking.) `Her paw
went into your eye? Wellthat's YOUR faultfor keeping your
eyes open--if you'd shut them tight upit wouldn't have
happened. Now don't make any more excusesbut listen! Number
two: you pulled Snowdrop away by the tail just as I had put down
the saucer of milk before her! Whatyou were thirstywere you?
How do you know she wasn't thirsty too? Now for number three:
you unwound every bit of the worsted while I wasn't looking!
`That's three faultsKittyand you've not been punished for
any of them yet. You know I'm saving up all your punishments for
Wednesday week--Suppose they had saved up all MY punishments!'
she went ontalking more to herself than the kitten. `What
WOULD they do at the end of a year? I should be sent to prison
I supposewhen the day came. Or--let me see--suppose each
punishment was to be going without a dinner: thenwhen the
miserable day cameI should have to go without fifty dinners at
once! WellI shouldn't mind THAT much! I'd far rather go
without them than eat them!
`Do you hear the snow against the window-panesKitty? How
nice and soft it sounds! Just as if some one was kissing the
window all over outside. I wonder if the snow LOVES the trees
and fieldsthat it kisses them so gently? And then it covers
them up snugyou knowwith a white quilt; and perhaps it says
Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.And when
they wake up in the summerKittythey dress themselves all in
greenand dance about--whenever the wind blows--ohthat's
very pretty!' cried Alicedropping the ball of worsted to clap
her hands. `And I do so WISH it was true! I'm sure the woods
look sleepy in the autumnwhen the leaves are getting brown.
`Kittycan you play chess? Nowdon't smilemy dearI'm
asking it seriously. Becausewhen we were playing just nowyou
watched just as if you understood it: and when I said "Check!"
you purred! Wellit WAS a nice checkKittyand really I might
have wonif it hadn't been for that nasty Knightthat came
wiggling down among my pieces. Kittydearlet's pretend--'
And here I wish I could tell you half the things Alice used to
saybeginning with her favourite phrase `Let's pretend.' She
had had quite a long argument with her sister only the day before
--all because Alice had begun with `Let's pretend we're kings
and queens;' and her sisterwho liked being very exacthad
argued that they couldn'tbecause there were only two of them
and Alice had been reduced at last to say`WellYOU can be one
of them thenand I'LL be all the rest.' And once she had really
frightened her old nurse by shouting suddenly in her ear`Nurse!
Do let's pretend that I'm a hungry hyaenaand you're a bone.'
But this is taking us away from Alice's speech to the kitten.
`Let's pretend that you're the Red QueenKitty! Do you knowI
think if you sat up and folded your armsyou'd look exactly like
her. Now do trythere's a dear!' And Alice got the Red Queen
off the tableand set it up before the kitten as a model for it
to imitate: howeverthe thing didn't succeedprincipally
Alice saidbecause the kitten wouldn't fold its arms properly.
Soto punish itshe held it up to the Looking-glassthat it
might see how sulky it was--`and if you're not good directly'
she added`I'll put you through into Looking-glass House. How
would you like THAT?'
`Nowif you'll only attendKittyand not talk so muchI'll
tell you all my ideas about Looking-glass House. Firstthere's
the room you can see through the glass--that's just the same as
our drawing roomonly the things go the other way. I can see
all of it when I get upon a chair--all but the bit behind the
fireplace. Oh! I do so wish I could see THAT bit! I want so
much to know whether they've a fire in the winter: you never CAN
tellyou knowunless our fire smokesand then smoke comes up
in that room too--but that may be only pretencejust to make
it look as if they had a fire. Well thenthe books are
something like our booksonly the words go the wrong way; I know
thatbecause I've held up one of our books to the glassand
then they hold up one in the other room.
`How would you like to live in Looking-glass HouseKitty? I
wonder if they'd give you milk in there? Perhaps Looking-glass
milk isn't good to drink--But ohKitty! now we come to the
passage. You can just see a little PEEP of the passage in
Looking-glass Houseif you leave the door of our drawing-room
wide open: and it's very like our passage as far as you can see
only you know it may be quite different on beyond. OhKitty!
how nice it would be if we could only get through into Lookingglass
House! I'm sure it's gotoh! such beautiful things in it!
Let's pretend there's a way of getting through into itsomehow
Kitty. Let's pretend the glass has got all soft like gauzeso
that we can get through. Whyit's turning into a sort of mist
nowI declare! It'll be easy enough to get through--' She
was up on the chimney-piece while she said thisthough she
hardly knew how she had got there. And certainly the glass WAS
beginning to melt awayjust like a bright silvery mist.
In another moment Alice was through the glassand had jumped
lightly down into the Looking-glass room. The very first thing
she did was to look whether there was a fire in the fireplace
and she was quite pleased to find that there was a real one
blazing away as brightly as the one she had left behind. `So I
shall be as warm here as I was in the old room' thought Alice:
`warmerin factbecause there'll be no one here to scold me
away from the fire. Ohwhat fun it'll bewhen they see me
through the glass in hereand can't get at me!'
Then she began looking aboutand noticed that what could be
seen from the old room was quite common and uninterestingbut
that all the rest was a different as possible. For instancethe
pictures on the wall next the fire seemed to be all aliveand
the very clock on the chimney-piece (you know you can only see
the back of it in the Looking-glass) had got the face of a little
old manand grinned at her.
`They don't keep this room so tidy as the other' Alice thought
to herselfas she noticed several of the chessmen down in the
hearth among the cinders: but in another momentwith a little
`Oh!' of surpriseshe was down on her hands and knees watching
them. The chessmen were walking abouttwo and two!
`Here are the Red King and the Red Queen' Alice said (in a
whisperfor fear of frightening them)`and there are the White
King and the White Queen sitting on the edge of the shovel--and
here are two castles walking arm in arm--I don't think they can
hear me' she went onas she put her head closer down`and I'm
nearly sure they can't see me. I feel somehow as if I were
Here something began squeaking on the table behind Aliceand
made her turn her head just in time to see one of the White Pawns
roll over and begin kicking: she watched it with great
curiosity to see what would happen next.
`It is the voice of my child!' the White Queen cried out as she
rushed past the Kingso violently that she knocked him over
among the cinders. `My precious Lily! My imperial kitten!' and
she began scrambling wildly up the side of the fender.
`Imperial fiddlestick!' said the Kingrubbing his nosewhich
had been hurt by the fall. He had a right to be a LITTLE annoyed
with the Queenfor he was covered with ashes from head to foot.
Alice was very anxious to be of useandas the poor little
Lily was nearly screaming herself into a fitshe hastily picked
up the Queen and set her on the table by the side of her noisy
The Queen gaspedand sat down: the rapid journey through the
air had quite taken away her breath and for a minute or two she
could do nothing but hug the little Lily in silence. As soon as
she had recovered her breath a littleshe called out to the
White Kingwho was sitting sulkily among the ashes`Mind the
`What volcano?' said the Kinglooking up anxiously into the
fireas if he thought that was the most likely place to find
`Blew--me--up' panted the Queenwho was still a little
out of breath. `Mind you come up--the regular way--don't get
Alice watched the White King as he slowly struggled up from bar
to bartill at last she said`Whyyou'll be hours and hours
getting to the tableat that rate. I'd far better help you
hadn't I?' But the King took no notice of the question: it was
quite clear that he could neither hear her nor see her.
So Alice picked him up very gentlyand lifted him across more
slowly than she had lifted the Queenthat she mightn't take his
breath away: butbefore she put him on the tableshe thought
she might as well dust him a littlehe was so covered with
She said afterwards that she had never seen in all her life
such a face as the King madewhen he found himself held in the
air by an invisible handand being dusted: he was far too much
astonished to cry outbut his eyes and his mouth went on getting
larger and largerand rounder and roundertill her hand shook
so with laughing that she nearly let him drop upon the floor.
`Oh! PLEASE don't make such facesmy dear!' she cried out
quite forgetting that the King couldn't hear her. `You make me
laugh so that I can hardly hold you! And don't keep your mouth
so wide open! All the ashes will get into it--therenow I
think you're tidy enough!' she addedas she smoothed his hair
and set him upon the table near the Queen.
The King immediately fell flat on his backand lay perfectly
still: and Alice was a little alarmed at what she had doneand
went round the room to see if she could find any water to throw
over him. Howevershe could find nothing but a bottle of ink
and when she got back with it she found he had recoveredand he
and the Queen were talking together in a frightened whisper--so
lowthat Alice could hardly hear what they said.
The King was saying`I assureyou my dearI turned cold to
the very ends of my whiskers!'
To which the Queen replied`You haven't got any whiskers.'
`The horror of that moment' the King went on`I shall never
`You willthough' the Queen said`if you don't make a
memorandum of it.'
Alice looked on with great interest as the King took an
enormous memorandum-book out of his pocketand began writing. A
sudden thought struck herand she took hold of the end of the
pencilwhich came some way over his shoulderand began writing
The poor King look puzzled and unhappyand struggled with the
pencil for some time without saying anything; but Alice was too
strong for himand at last he panted out`My dear! I really
MUST get a thinner pencil. I can't manage this one a bit; it
writes all manner of things that I don't intend--'
`What manner of things?' said the Queenlooking over the book
(in which Alice had put `THE WHITE KNIGHT IS SLIDING DOWN THE
POKER. HE BALANCES VERY BADLY') `That's not a memorandum of
There was a book lying near Alice on the tableand while she
sat watching the White King (for she was still a little anxious
about himand had the ink all ready to throw over himin case
he fainted again)she turned over the leavesto find some part
that she could read`--for it's all in some language I don't
know' she said to herself.
It was like this.
sevot yhtils eht dnagillirb sawT`
ebaw eht ni elbmig dna eryg diD
sevogorob eht erew ysmim llA
.ebargtuo shtar emom eht dnA
She puzzled over this for some timebut at last a bright
thought struck her. `Whyit's a Looking-glass bookof course!
And if I hold it up to a glassthe words will all go the right
This was the poem that Alice read.
'Twas brilligand the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves
And the mome raths outgrabe.
`Beware the Jabberwockmy son!
The jaws that bitethe claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub birdand shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought-
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought.
And as in uffish thought he stood
The Jabberwockwith eyes of flame
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood
And burbled as it came!
Onetwo! Onetwo! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it deadand with its head
He went galumphing back.
`And has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my armsmy beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.
'Twas brilligand the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves
And the mome raths outgrabe.
`It seems very pretty' she said when she had finished it`but
it's RATHER hard to understand!' (You see she didn't like to
confessever to herselfthat she couldn't make it out at all.)
`Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas--only I don't
exactly know what they are! HoweverSOMEBODY killed SOMETHING:
that's clearat any rate--'
`But oh!' thought Alicesuddenly jumping up`if I don't make
haste I shall have to go back through the Looking-glassbefore
I've seen what the rest of the house is like! Let's have a look
at the garden first!' She was out of the room in a momentand
ran down stairs--orat leastit wasn't exactly runningbut a
new invention of hers for getting down stairs quickly and easily
as Alice said to herself. She just kept the tips of her fingers
on the hand-railand floated gently down without even touching
the stairs with her feet; then she floated on through the hall
and would have gone straight out at the door in the same wayif
she hadn't caught hold of the door-post. She was getting a
little giddy with so much floating in the airand was rather
glad to find herself walking again in the natural way.
The Garden of Live Flowers
`I should see the garden far better' said Alice to herself
`if I could get to the top of that hill: and here's a path that
leads straight to it--at leastnoit doesn't do that--'
(after going a few yards along the pathand turning several
sharp corners)`but I suppose it will at last. But how
curiously it twists! It's more like a corkscrew than a path!
WellTHIS turn goes to the hillI suppose--noit doesn't!
This goes straight back to the house! Well thenI'll try it the
And so she did: wandering up and downand trying turn after
turnbut always coming back to the housedo what she would.
Indeedoncewhen she turned a corner rather more quickly than
usualshe ran against it before she could stop herself.
`It's no use talking about it' Alice saidlooking up at the
house and pretending it was arguing with her. `I'm NOT going in
again yet. I know I should have to get through the Looking-glass
again--back into the old room--and there'd be an end of all
Soresolutely turning her back upon the houseshe set out
once more down the pathdetermined to keep straight on till
she got to the hill. For a few minutes all went on well
and she was just saying`I really SHALL do it this time--'
when the path gave a sudden twist and shook itself
(as she described it afterwards)and the next moment
she found herself actually walking in at the door.
'Ohit's too bad!' she cried. `I never saw such a house for
getting in the way! Never!'
Howeverthere was the hill full in sightso there was nothing
to be done but start again. This time she came upon a large
flower-bedwith a border of daisiesand a willow-tree growing
in the middle.
`O Tiger-lily' said Aliceaddressing herself to one that was
waving gracefully about in the wind`I WISH you could talk!'
`We CAN talk' said the Tiger-lily: `when there's anybody
worth talking to.'
Alice was so astonished that she could not speak for a minute:
it quite seemed to take her breath away. At lengthas the
Tiger-lily only went on waving aboutshe spoke againin a timid
voice--almost in a whisper. `And can ALL the flowers talk?'
`As well as YOU can' said the Tiger-lily. `And a great deal
`It isn't manners for us to beginyou know' said the Rose
`and I really was wondering when you'd speak! Said I to myself
Her face has got SOME sense in it, thought it's not a clever
one!Stillyou're the right colourand that goes a long way.'
`I don't care about the colour' the Tiger-lily remarked. `If
only her petals curled up a little moreshe'd be all right.'
Alice didn't like being criticisedso she began asking
questions. `Aren't you sometimes frightened at being planted out
herewith nobody to take care of you?'
`There's the tree in the middle' said the Rose: `what else is
it good for?'
`But what could it doif any danger came?' Alice asked.
`It says "Bough-wough!" cried a Daisy: `that's why its
branches are called boughs!'
`Didn't you know THAT?' cried another Daisyand here they all
began shouting togethertill the air seemed quite full of little
shrill voices. `Silenceevery one of you!' cried the Tigerlily
waving itself passionately from side to sideand trembling
with excitement. `They know I can't get at them!' it panted
bending its quivering head towards Alice`or they wouldn't dare
to do it!'
`Never mind!' Alice said in a soothing toneand stooping down
to the daisieswho were just beginning againshe whispered`If
you don't hold your tonguesI'll pick you!'
There was silence in a momentand several of the pink daisies
`That's right!' said the Tiger-lily. `The daisies are worst of
all. When one speaksthey all begin togetherand it's enough
to make one wither to hear the way they go on!'
`How is it you can all talk so nicely?' Alice saidhoping to
get it into a better temper by a compliment. `I've been in many
gardens beforebut none of the flowers could talk.'
`Put your hand downand feel the ground' said the Tiger-lily.
`Then you'll know why.
Alice did so. `It's very hard' she said`but I don't see
what that has to do with it.'
`In most gardens' the Tiger-lily said`they make the beds
too soft--so that the flowers are always asleep.'
This sounded a very good reasonand Alice was quite pleased to
know it. `I never thought of that before!' she said.
`It's MY opinion that you never think AT ALL' the Rose said in
a rather severe tone.
`I never saw anybody that looked stupider' a Violet saidso
suddenlythat Alice quite jumped; for it hadn't spoken before.
`Hold YOUR tongue!' cried the Tiger-lily. `As if YOU ever saw
anybody! You keep your head under the leavesand snore away
theretill you know no more what's going on in the worldthan
if you were a bud!'
`Are there any more people in the garden besides me?' Alice
saidnot choosing to notice the Rose's last remark.
`There's one other flower in the garden that can move about
like you' said the Rose. `I wonder how you do it--' (`You're
always wondering' said the Tiger-lily)`but she's more bushy
than you are.'
`Is she like me?' Alice asked eagerlyfor the thought crossed
her mind`There's another little girl in the gardensomewhere!'
`Wellshe has the same awkward shape as you' the Rose said
`but she's redder--and her petals are shorterI think.'
`Her petals are done up closealmost like a dahlia' the
Tiger-lily interrupted: `not tumbled about anyhowlike yours.'
`But that's not YOUR fault' the Rose added kindly: `you're
beginning to fadeyou know--and then one can't help one's
petals getting a little untidy.'
Alice didn't like this idea at all: soto change the subject
she asked `Does she ever come out here?'
`I daresay you'll see her soon' said the Rose. `She's one of
the thorny kind.'
`Where does she wear the thorns?' Alice asked with some
`Why all round her headof course' the Rose replied. `I was
wondering YOU hadn't got some too. I thought it was the regular
`She's coming!' cried the Larkspur. `I hear her footstep
thumpthumpthumpalong the gravel-walk!'
Alice looked round eagerlyand found that it was the Red
Queen. `She's grown a good deal!' was her first remark. She had
indeed: when Alice first found her in the ashesshe had been
only three inches high--and here she washalf a head taller
than Alice herself!
`It's the fresh air that does it' said the Rose:
`wonderfully fine air it isout here.'
`I think I'll go and meet her' said Aliceforthough the
flowers were interesting enoughshe felt that it would be far
grander to have a talk with a real Queen.
`You can't possibly do that' said the Rose: `_I_ should
advise you to walk the other way.'
This sounded nonsense to Aliceso she said nothingbut set
off at once towards the Red Queen. To her surpriseshe lost
sight of her in a momentand found herself walking in at the
A little provokedshe drew backand after looking everywhere
for the queen (whom she spied out at lasta long way off)she
thought she would try the planthis timeof walking in the
It succeeded beautifully. She had not been walking a minute
before she found herself face to face with the Red Queenand
full in sight of the hill she had been so long aiming at.
`Where do you come from?' said the Red Queen. `And where are
you going? Look upspeak nicelyand don't twiddle your fingers
all the time.'
Alice attended to all these directionsand explainedas well
as she couldthat she had lost her way.
`I don't know what you mean by YOUR way' said the Queen: `all
the ways about here belong to ME--but why did you come out here
at all?' she added in a kinder tone. `Curtsey while you're
thinking what to sayit saves time.'
Alice wondered a little at thisbut she was too much in awe of
the Queen to disbelieve it. `I'll try it when I go home' she
thought to herself. `the next time I'm a little late for dinner.'
`It's time for you to answer now' the Queen saidlooking at
her watch: `open your mouth a LITTLE wider when you speakand
always say "your Majesty."'
`I only wanted to see what the garden was likeyour Majesty--'
`That's right' said the Queenpatting her on the headwhich
Alice didn't like at all`thoughwhen you say "garden--I'VE
seen gardens, compared with which this would be a wilderness.'
Alice didn't dare to argue the point, but went on: `--and I
thought I'd try and find my way to the top of that hill--'
`When you say hill' the Queen interrupted, `_I_ could show
you hills, in comparison with which you'd call that a valley.'
`No, I shouldn't,' said Alice, surprised into contradicting her
at last: `a hill CAN'T be a valley, you know. That would be
The Red Queen shook her head, `You may call it nonsense" if
you like' she said`but I'VE heard nonsensecompared with
which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!'
Alice curtseyed againas she was afraid from the Queen's tone
that she was a LITTLE offended: and they walked on in silence
till they got to the top of the little hill.
For some minutes Alice stood without speakinglooking out in
all directions over the country--and a most curious country it
was. There were a number of tiny little brooks running straight
across it from side to sideand the ground between was divided
up into squares by a number of little green hedgesthat reached
from brook to brook.
`I declare it's marked out just like a large chessboard!' Alice
said at last. `There ought to be some men moving about somewhere
--and so there are!' She added in a tone of delightand her
heart began to beat quick with excitement as she went on. `It's
a great huge game of chess that's being played--all over the
world--if this IS the world at allyou know. Ohwhat fun it
is! How I WISH I was one of them! I wouldn't mind being a Pawn
if only I might join--though of course I should LIKE to be a
She glanced rather shyly at the real Queen as she said this
but her companion only smiled pleasantlyand said`That's
easily managed. You can be the White Queen's Pawnif you like
as Lily's too young to play; and you're in the Second Square to
began with: when you get to the Eighth Square you'll be a Queen
--' Just at this momentsomehow or otherthey began to run.
Alice never could quite make outin thinking it over
afterwardshow it was that they began: all she remembers is
that they were running hand in handand the Queen went so fast
that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the
Queen kept crying `Faster! Faster!' but Alice felt she COULD NOT
go fasterthough she had not breath left to say so.
The most curious part of the thing wasthat the trees and the
other things round them never changed their places at all:
however fast they wentthey never seemed to pass anything. `I
wonder if all the things move along with us?' thought poor
puzzled Alice. And the Queen seemed to guess her thoughtsfor
she cried`Faster! Don't try to talk!'
Not that Alice had any idea of doing THAT. She felt as if she
would never be able to talk againshe was getting so much out of
breath: and still the Queen cried `Faster! Faster!' and dragged
her along. `Are we nearly there?' Alice managed to pant out at
`Nearly there!' the Queen repeated. `Whywe passed it ten
minutes ago! Faster!' And they ran on for a time in silence
with the wind whistling in Alice's earsand almost blowing her
hair off her headshe fancied.
`Now! Now!' cried the Queen. `Faster! Faster!' And they
went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air
hardly touching the ground with their feettill suddenlyjust
as Alice was getting quite exhaustedthey stoppedand she found
herself sitting on the groundbreathless and giddy.
The Queen propped her up against a treeand said kindly`You
may rest a little now.'
Alice looked round her in great surprise. `WhyI do believe
we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as
`Of course it is' said the Queen`what would you have it?'
`Wellin OUR country' said Alicestill panting a little
`you'd generally get to somewhere else--if you ran very fast
for a long timeas we've been doing.'
`A slow sort of country!' said the Queen. `NowHEREyou see
it takes all the running YOU can doto keep in the same place.
If you want to get somewhere elseyou must run at least twice as
fast as that!'
`I'd rather not tryplease!' said Alice. `I'm quite content
to stay here--only I AM so hot and thirsty!'
`I know what YOU'D like!' the Queen said good-naturedlytaking
a little box out of her pocket. `Have a biscuit?'
Alice thought it would not be civil to say `No' though it
wasn't at all what she wanted. So she took itand ate it as
well as she could: and it was VERY dry; and she thought she had
never been so nearly choked in all her life.
`While you're refreshing yourself' said the Queen`I'll just
take the measurements.' And she took a ribbon out of her pocket
marked in inchesand began measuring the groundand sticking
little pegs in here and there.
`At the end of two yards' she saidputting in a peg to mark
the distance`I shall give you your directions--have another
`Nothank you' said Alice: `one's QUITE enough!'
`Thirst quenchedI hope?' said the Queen.
Alice did not know what to say to thisbut luckily the Queen
did not wait for an answerbut went on. `At the end of THREE
yards I shall repeat them--for fear of your forgetting them.
At then end of FOURI shall say good-bye. And at then end of
FIVEI shall go!'
She had got all the pegs put in by this timeand Alice looked
on with great interest as she returned to the treeand then
began slowly walking down the row.
At the two-yard peg she faced roundand said`A pawn goes two
squares in its first moveyou know. So you'll go VERY quickly
through the Third Square--by railwayI should think--and
you'll find yourself in the Fourth Square in no time. WellTHAT
square belongs to Tweedledum and Tweedledee--the Fifth is
mostly water--the Sixth belongs to Humpty Dumpty--But you
make no remark?'
`I--I didn't know I had to make one--just then' Alice
`You SHOULD have said' `"It's extremely kind of you to tell me
all this"--howeverwe'll suppose it said--the Seventh Square
is all forest--howeverone of the Knights will show you the
way--and in the Eighth Square we shall be Queens togetherand
it's all feasting and fun!' Alice got up and curtseyedand sat
At the next peg the Queen turned againand this time she said
`Speak in French when you can't think of the English for a thing
--turn out your toes as you walk--and remember who you are!'
She did not wait for Alice to curtsey this timebut walked on
quickly to the next pegwhere she turned for a moment to say
`good-bye' and then hurried on to the last.
How it happenedAlice never knewbut exactly as she came to
the last pegshe was gone. Whether she vanished into the air
or whether she ran quickly into the wood (`and she CAN run very
fast!' thought Alice)there was no way of guessingbut she was
goneand Alice began to remember that she was a Pawnand that
it would soon be time for her to move.
Of course the first thing to do was to make a grand survey of
the country she was going to travel through. `It's something
very like learning geography' thought Aliceas she stood on
tiptoe in hopes of being able to see a little further.
`Principal rivers--there ARE none. Principal mountains--I'm
on the only onebut I don't think it's got any name. Principal
towns--whywhat ARE those creaturesmaking honey down there?
They can't be bees--nobody ever saw bees a mile offyou know--'
and for some time she stood silentwatching one of them that
was bustling about among the flowerspoking its proboscis into
them`just as if it was a regular bee' thought Alice.
Howeverthis was anything but a regular bee: in fact it was
an elephant--as Alice soon found outthough the idea quite
took her breath away at first. `And what enormous flowers they
must be!' was her next idea. `Something like cottages with the
roofs taken offand stalks put to them--and what quantities of
honey they must make! I think I'll go down and--noI won't
JUST yet' she went onchecking herself just as she was
beginning to run down the hilland trying to find some excuse
for turning shy so suddenly. `It'll never do to go down among
them without a good long branch to brush them away--and what
fun it'll be when they ask me how I like my walk. I shall say-"
OhI like it well enough--"' (here came the favourite little
toss of the head)`"only it was so dusty and hotand the
elephants did tease so!"'
`I think I'll go down the other way' she said after a pause:
`and perhaps I may visit the elephants later on. BesidesI do
so want to get into the Third Square!'
So with this excuse she ran down the hill and jumped over the
first of the six little brooks.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
`Ticketsplease!' said the Guardputting his head in at the
window. In a moment everybody was holding out a ticket: they
were about the same size as the peopleand quite seemed to fill
`Now then! Show your ticketchild!' the Guard went on
looking angrily at Alice. And a great many voices all said
together (`like the chorus of a song' thought Alice)`Don't
keep him waitingchild! Whyhis time is worth a thousand
pounds a minute!'
`I'm afraid I haven't got one' Alice said in a frightened tone:
`there wasn't a ticket-office where I came from.' And again
the chorus of voices went on. `There wasn't room for one where
she came from. The land there is worth a thousand pounds an inch!'
`Don't make excuses' said the Guard: `you should have bought
one from the engine-driver.' And once more the chorus of voices
went on with `The man that drives the engine. Whythe smoke
alone is worth a thousand pounds a puff!'
Alice thought to herself`Then there's no use in speaking.'
The voices didn't join in this timeas she hadn't spokenbut to
her great surprisethey all THOUGHT in chorus (I hope you
understand what THINKING IN CHORUS means--for I must confess
that _I_ don't)`Better say nothing at all. Language is worth a
thousand pounds a word!'
`I shall dream about a thousand pounds tonightI know I
shall!' thought Alice.
All this time the Guard was looking at herfirst through a
telescopethen through a microscopeand then through an operaglass.
At last he said`You're travelling the wrong way' and
shut up the window and went away.
`So young a child' said the gentleman sitting opposite to her
(he was dressed in white paper)`ought to know which way she's
goingeven if she doesn't know her own name!'
A Goatthat was sitting next to the gentleman in whiteshut
his eyes and said in a loud voice`She ought to know her way to
the ticket-officeeven if she doesn't know her alphabet!'
There was a Beetle sitting next to the Goat (it was a very
queer carriage-full of passengers altogether)andas the rule
seemed to be that they should all speak in turnHE went on with
`She'll have to go back from here as luggage!'
Alice couldn't see who was sitting beyond the Beetlebut a
hoarse voice spoke next. `Change engines--' it saidand was
obliged to leave off.
`It sounds like a horse' Alice thought to herself. And an
extremely small voiceclose to her earsaid`You might make a
joke on that--something about "horse" and "hoarse you know.'
Then a very gentle voice in the distance said, `She must be
labelled Lasswith care you know--'
And after that other voices went on (What a number of people
there are in the carriage!' thought Alice), saying, `She must go
by post, as she's got a head on her--' `She must be sent as a
message by the telegraph--' `She must draw the train herself
the rest of the way--' and so on.
But the gentleman dressed in white paper leaned forwards and
whispered in her ear, `Never mind what they all say, my dear, but
take a return-ticket every time the train stops.'
`Indeed I shan't!' Alice said rather impatiently. `I don't
belong to this railway journey at all--I was in a wood just now
--and I wish I could get back there.'
`You might make a joke on THAT,' said the little voice close to
her ear: `something about you WOULD if you could you know.'
`Don't tease so,' said Alice, looking about in vain to see
where the voice came from; `if you're so anxious to have a joke
made, why don't you make one yourself?'
The little voice sighed deeply: it was VERY unhappy,
evidently, and Alice would have said something pitying to comfort
it, `If it would only sigh like other people!' she thought. But
this was such a wonderfully small sigh, that she wouldn't have
heard it at all, if it hadn't come QUITE close to her ear. The
consequence of this was that it tickled her ear very much, and
quite took off her thoughts from the unhappiness of the poor
`I know you are a friend, the little voice went on; `a dear
friend, and an old friend. And you won't hurt me, though I AM an
`What kind of insect?' Alice inquired a little anxiously. What
she really wanted to know was, whether it could sting or not, but
she thought this wouldn't be quite a civil question to ask.
`What, then you don't--' the little voice began, when it was
drowned by a shrill scream from the engine, and everybody jumped
up in alarm, Alice among the rest.
The Horse, who had put his head out of the window, quietly drew
it in and said, `It's only a brook we have to jump over.'
Everybody seemed satisfied with this, though Alice felt a little
nervous at the idea of trains jumping at all. `However, it'll
take us into the Fourth Square, that's some comfort!' she said to
herself. In another moment she felt the carriage rise straight
up into the air, and in her fright she caught at the thing
nearest to her hand. which happened to be the Goat's beard.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
But the beard seemed to melt away as she touched it, and she
found herself sitting quietly under a tree--while the Gnat (for
that was the insect she had been talking to) was balancing itself
on a twig just over her head, and fanning her with its wings.
It certainly was a VERY large Gnat: `about the size of a
chicken,' Alice thought. Still, she couldn't feel nervous with
it, after they had been talking together so long.
`--then you don't like all insects?' the Gnat went on, as
quietly as if nothing had happened.
`I like them when they can talk,' Alice said. `None of them
ever talk, where _I_ come from.'
`What sort of insects do you rejoice in, where YOU come from?'
the Gnat inquired.
`I don't REJOICE in insects at all,' Alice explained, `because
I'm rather afraid of them--at least the large kinds. But I can
tell you the names of some of them.'
`Of course they answer to their names?' the Gnat remarked
`I never knew them do it.'
`What's the use of their having names the Gnat said, `if they
won't answer to them?'
`No use to THEM,' said Alice; `but it's useful to the people
who name them, I suppose. If not, why do things have names at
`I can't say,' the Gnat replied. `Further on, in the wood
down there, they've got no names--however, go on with your list
of insects: you're wasting time.'
`Well, there's the Horse-fly,' Alice began, counting off the
names on her fingers.
`All right,' said the Gnat: `half way up that bush, you'll see
a Rocking-horse-fly, if you look. It's made entirely of wood,
and gets about by swinging itself from branch to branch.'
`What does it live on?' Alice asked, with great curiosity.
`Sap and sawdust,' said the Gnat. `Go on with the list.'
Alice looked up at the Rocking-horse-fly with great interest,
and made up her mind that it must have been just repainted, it
looked so bright and sticky; and then she went on.
`And there's the Dragon-fly.'
`Look on the branch above your head,' said the Gnat, `and there
you'll find a snap-dragon-fly. Its body is made of plum-pudding,
its wings of holly-leaves, and its head is a raisin burning in
`And what does it live on?'
`Frumenty and mince pie,' the Gnat replied; `and it makes its
nest in a Christmas box.'
`And then there's the Butterfly,' Alice went on, after she had
taken a good look at the insect with its head on fire, and had
thought to herself, `I wonder if that's the reason insects are so
fond of flying into candles--because they want to turn into
`Crawling at your feet,' said the Gnat (Alice drew her feet
back in some alarm), `you may observe a Bread-and-Butterfly. Its
wings are thin slices of Bread-and-butter, its body is a crust,
and its head is a lump of sugar.'
`And what does IT live on?'
`Weak tea with cream in it.'
A new difficulty came into Alice's head. `Supposing it
couldn't find any?' she suggested.
`Then it would die, of course.'
`But that must happen very often,' Alice remarked thoughtfully.
`It always happens,' said the Gnat.
After this, Alice was silent for a minute or two, pondering.
The Gnat amused itself meanwhile by humming round and round her
head: at last it settled again and remarked, `I suppose you
don't want to lose your name?'
`No, indeed,' Alice said, a little anxiously.
`And yet I don't know,' the Gnat went on in a careless tone:
`only think how convenient it would be if you could manage to go
home without it! For instance, if the governess wanted to call
you to your lessons, she would call out come here-- and
there she would have to leave off, because there wouldn't be any
name for her to call, and of course you wouldn't have to go, you
`That would never do, I'm sure,' said Alice: `the governess
would never think of excusing me lessons for that. If she
couldn't remember my name, she'd call me Miss!" as the servants
`Well. if she said "Miss and didn't say anything more,' the
Gnat remarked, `of course you'd miss your lessons. That's a
joke. I wish YOU had made it.'
`Why do you wish _I_ had made it?' Alice asked. `It's a very
But the Gnat only sighed deeply, while two large tears came
rolling down its cheeks.
`You shouldn't make jokes,' Alice said, `if it makes you so
Then came another of those melancholy little sighs, and this
time the poor Gnat really seemed to have sighed itself away, for,
when Alice looked up, there was nothing whatever to be seen on
the twig, and, as she was getting quite chilly with sitting still
so long, she got up and walked on.
She very soon came to an open field, with a wood on the other
side of it: it looked much darker than the last wood, and Alice
felt a LITTLE timid about going into it. However, on second
thoughts, she made up her mind to go on: `for I certainly won't
go BACK,' she thought to herself, and this was the only way to
the Eighth Square.
`This must be the wood, she said thoughtfully to herself,
`where things have no names. I wonder what'll become of MY name
when I go in? I shouldn't like to lose it at all--because
they'd have to give me another, and it would be almost certain to
be an ugly one. But then the fun would be trying to find the
creature that had got my old name! That's just like the
advertisements, you know, when people lose dogs--ANSWERS TO
THE NAME OF `DASH:' HAD ON A BRASS COLLAR"--just fancy calling
everything you met "Alice till one of them answered! Only they
wouldn't answer at all, if they were wise.'
She was rambling on in this way when she reached the wood: it
looked very cool and shady. `Well, at any rate it's a great
comfort,' she said as she stepped under the trees, `after being
so hot, to get into the--into WHAT?' she went on, rather
surprised at not being able to think of the word. `I mean to get
under the--under the--under THIS, you know!' putting her
hand on the trunk of the tree. `What DOES it call itself, I
wonder? I do believe it's got no name--why, to be sure it
She stood silent for a minute, thinking: then she suddenly
began again. `Then it really HAS happened, after all! And now,
who am I? I WILL remember, if I can! I'm determined to do it!'
But being determined didn't help much, and all she could say,
after a great deal of puzzling, was, `L, I KNOW it begins with L!'
Just then a Fawn came wandering by: it looked at Alice with
its large gentle eyes, but didn't seem at all frightened. `Here
then! Here then!' Alice said, as she held out her hand and tried
to stroke it; but it only started back a little, and then stood
looking at her again.
`What do you call yourself?' the Fawn said at last. Such a
soft sweet voice it had!
`I wish I knew!' thought poor Alice. She answered, rather
sadly, `Nothing, just now.'
`Think again,' it said: `that won't do.'
Alice thought, but nothing came of it. `Please, would you tell
me what YOU call yourself?' she said timidly. `I think that
might help a little.'
`I'll tell you, if you'll move a little further on,' the Fawn said.
`I can't remember here.'
So they walked on together though the wood, Alice with her arms
clasped lovingly round the soft neck of the Fawn, till they came
out into another open field, and here the Fawn gave a sudden
bound into the air, and shook itself free from Alice's arms.
`I'm a Fawn!' it cried out in a voice of delight, `and, dear me!
you're a human child!' A sudden look of alarm came into its
beautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away at
Alice stood looking after it, almost ready to cry with vexation
at having lost her dear little fellow-traveller so suddenly.
`However, I know my name now.' she said, `that's SOME comfort.
Alice--Alice--I won't forget it again. And now, which of
these finger-posts ought I to follow, I wonder?'
It was not a very difficult question to answer, as there was
only one road through the wood, and the two finger-posts both
pointed along it. `I'll settle it,' Alice said to herself, `when
the road divides and they point different ways.'
But this did not seem likely to happen. She went on and on, a
long way, but wherever the road divided there were sure to be two
finger-posts pointing the same way, one marked `TO TWEEDLEDUM'S
HOUSE' and the other `TO THE HOUSE OF TWEEDLEDEE.'
`I do believe,' said Alice at last, `that they live in the same
house! I wonder I never thought of that before--But I can't
stay there long. I'll just call and say how d'you do?" and ask
them the way out of the wood. If I could only get to the Eighth
Square before it gets dark!' So she wandered ontalking to
herself as she wenttillon turning a sharp cornershe came
upon two fat little menso suddenly that she could not help
starting backbut in another moment she recovered herself
feeling sure that they must be
TWEEDLEDUM AND TWEEDLEDEE
They were standing under a treeeach with an arm round the
other's neckand Alice knew which was which in a momentbecause
one of them had `DUM' embroidered on his collarand the other
`DEE.' `I suppose they've each got "TWEEDLE" round at the back
of the collar' she said to herself.
They stood so still that she quite forgot they were alive
and she was just looking round to see if the word "TWEEDLE" was
written at the back of each collarwhen she was startled by a
voice coming from the one marked `DUM.'
`If you think we're wax-works' he said`you ought to payyou
know. Wax-works weren't made to be looked at for nothingnohow!'
`Contrariwise' added the one marked `DEE' `if you think we're
aliveyou ought to speak.'
`I'm sure I'm very sorry' was all Alice could say; for the words
of the old song kept ringing through her head like the ticking
of a clockand she could hardly help saying them out loud:-
`Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so
They quite forgot their quarrel.'
`I know what you're thinking about' said Tweedledum: `but it
`Contrariwise' continued Tweedledee`if it was soit might
be; and if it were soit would be; but as it isn'tit ain't.
`I was thinking' Alice said very politely`which is the best
way out of this wood: it's getting so dark. Would you tell me
But the little men only looked at each other and grinned.
They looked so exactly like a couple of great schoolboysthat
Alice couldn't help pointing her finger at Tweedledumand saying
`Nohow!' Tweedledum cried out brisklyand shut his mouth up
again with a snap.
`Next Boy!' said Alicepassing on to Tweedledeethough she
felt quite certain he would only shout out `Contrariwise!' and so
`You've been wrong!' cried Tweedledum. `The first thing in a
visit is to say "How d'ye do?" and shake hands!' And here the
two brothers gave each other a hugand then they held out the
two hands that were freeto shake hands with her.
Alice did not like shaking hands with either of them firstfor
fear of hurting the other one's feelings; soas the best way out
of the difficultyshe took hold of both hands at once: the next
moment they were dancing round in a ring. This seemed quite
natural (she remembered afterwards)and she was not even
surprised to hear music playing: it seemed to come from the tree
under which they were dancingand it was done (as well as she
could make it out) by the branches rubbing one across the other
like fiddles and fiddle-sticks.
`But it certainly WAS funny' (Alice said afterwardswhen she
was telling her sister the history of all this) `to find myself
singing "HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH." I don't know when
I began itbut somehow I felt as if I'd been singing it a long
The other two dancers were fatand very soon out of breath.
`Four times round is enough for one dance' Tweedledum panted
outand they left off dancing as suddenly as they had begun:
the music stopped at the same moment.
Then they let go of Alice's handsand stood looking at her for
a minute: there was a rather awkward pauseas Alice didn't know
how to begin a conversation with people she had just been dancing
with. `It would never do to say "How d'ye do?" NOW' she said to
herself: `we seem to have got beyond thatsomehow!'
`I hope you're not much tired?' she said at last.
`Nohow. And thank you VERY much for asking' said Tweedledum.
`So much obliged!' added Tweedledee. `You like poetry?'
`Ye-es. pretty well--SOME poetry' Alice said doubtfully.
`Would you tell me which road leads out of the wood?'
`What shall I repeat to her?' said Tweedledeelooking round at
Tweedledum with great solemn eyesand not noticing Alice's question.
`"THE WALRUS AND THE CARPENTER" is the longest' Tweedledum
repliedgiving his brother an affectionate hug.
Tweedledee began instantly:
`The sun was shining--'
Here Alice ventured to interrupt him. `If it's VERY long' she
saidas politely as she could`would you please tell me first
Tweedledee smiled gentlyand began again:
`The sun was shining on the sea
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright-And
this was oddbecause it was
The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done-"
It's very rude of him she said,
To come and spoil the fun!"
The sea was wet as wet could be
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloudbecause
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying over head-There
were no birds to fly.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
If this were only cleared away,
They saidit WOULD be grand!
If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,the Walrus said
That they could get it clear?
I doubt it,said the Carpenter
And shed a bitter tear.
O Oysters, come and walk with us!
The Walrus did beseech.
A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.
The eldest Oyster looked at him.
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye
And shook his heavy head-
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young oysters hurried up
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushedtheir faces washed
Their shoes were clean and neat-
And this was oddbecauseyou know
They hadn't any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last
And moreand moreand more-
All hopping through the frothy waves
And scrambling to the shore.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so
And then they rested on a rock
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
The time has come,the Walrus said
To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-Of
And why the sea is boiling hot-And
whether pigs have wings.
But wait a bit,the Oysters cried
Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!
No hurry!said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
A loaf of bread,the Walrus said
Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed-Now
if you're ready Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.
But not on us!the Oysters cried
Turning a little blue
After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!
The night is fine,the Walrus said
Do you admire the view?
It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf-I've
had to ask you twice!
It seems a shame,the Walrus said
To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!
The Carpenter said nothing but
The butter's spread too thick!
I weep for you,the Walrus said.
I deeply sympathize.
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size.
Holding his pocket handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
O Oysters,said the Carpenter.
You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?
But answer came there none-And
that was scarcely oddbecause
They'd eaten every one.'
`I like the Walrus best' said Alice: `because you see he was
a LITTLE sorry for the poor oysters.'
`He ate more than the Carpenterthough' said Tweedledee.
`You see he held his handkerchief in frontso that the Carpenter
couldn't count how many he took: contrariwise.'
`That was mean!' Alice said indignantly. `Then I like the
Carpenter best--if he didn't eat so many as the Walrus.'
`But he ate as many as he could get' said Tweedledum.
This was a puzzler. After a pauseAlice began`Well! They
were BOTH very unpleasant characters--' Here she checked
herself in some alarmat hearing something that sounded to her
like the puffing of a large steam-engine in the wood near them
though she feared it was more likely to be a wild beast.
`Are there any lions or tigers about here?' she asked timidly.
`It's only the Red King snoring' said Tweedledee.
`Come and look at him!' the brothers criedand they each took
one of Alice's handsand led her up to where the King was sleeping.
`Isn't he a LOVELY sight?' said Tweedledum.
Alice couldn't say honestly that he was. He had a tall red
night-cap onwith a tasseland he was lying crumpled up into a
sort of untidy heapand snoring loud--`fit to snore his head
off!' as Tweedledum remarked.
`I'm afraid he'll catch cold with lying on the damp grass'
said Alicewho was a very thoughtful little girl.
`He's dreaming now' said Tweedledee: `and what do you think
he's dreaming about?'
Alice said `Nobody can guess that.'
`Whyabout YOU!' Tweedledee exclaimedclapping his hands
triumphantly. `And if he left off dreaming about youwhere do
you suppose you'd be?'
`Where I am nowof course' said Alice.
`Not you!' Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. `You'd be
nowhere. Whyyou're only a sort of thing in his dream!'
`If that there King was to wake' added Tweedledum`you'd go
out--bang!--just like a candle!'
`I shouldn't!' Alice exclaimed indignantly. `Besidesif I'M
only a sort of thing in his dreamwhat are YOUI should like to
`Ditto' said Tweedledum.
`Dittoditto' cried Tweedledee.
He shouted this so loud that Alice couldn't help saying`Hush!
You'll be waking himI'm afraidif you make so much noise.'
`Wellit no use YOUR talking about waking him' said
Tweedledum`when you're only one of the things in his dream.
You know very well you're not real.'
`I AM real!' said Alice and began to cry.
`You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying' Tweedledee
remarked: `there's nothing to cry about.'
`If I wasn't real' Alice said--half-laughing though her
tearsit all seemed so ridiculous--`I shouldn't be able to
`I hope you don't suppose those are real tears?' Tweedledum
interrupted in a tone of great contempt.
`I know they're talking nonsense' Alice thought to herself:
`and it's foolish to cry about it.' So she brushed away her
tearsand went on as cheerfully as she could. `At any rate I'd
better be getting out of the woodfor really it's coming on very
dark. Do you think it's going to rain?'
Tweedledum spread a large umbrella over himself and his
brotherand looked up into it. `NoI don't think it is' he
said: `at least--not under HERE. Nohow.'
`But it may rain OUTSIDE?'
`It may--if it chooses' said Tweedledee: `we've no
`Selfish things!' thought Aliceand she was just going to say
`Good-night' and leave themwhen Tweedledum sprang out from
under the umbrella and seized her by the wrist.
`Do you see THAT?' he saidin a voice choking with passion
and his eyes grew large and yellow all in a momentas he pointed
with a trembling finger at a small white thing lying under the
`It's only a rattle' Alice saidafter a careful examination
of the little white thing. `Not a rattleSNAKEyou know' she
added hastilythinking that he was frightened: only an old
rattle--quite old and broken.'
`I knew it was!' cried Tweedledumbeginning to stamp about
wildly and tear his hair. `It's spoiltof course!' Here he
looked at Tweedledeewho immediately sat down on the groundand
tried to hide himself under the umbrella.
Alice laid her hand upon his armand said in a soothing tone
`You needn't be so angry about an old rattle.'
`But it isn't old!' Tweedledum criedin a greater fury than
ever. `It's newI tell you--I bought it yesterday--my nice
New RATTLE!' and his voice rose to a perfect scream.
All this time Tweedledee was trying his best to fold up the
umbrellawith himself in it: which was such an extraordinary
thing to dothat it quite took off Alice's attention from the
angry brother. But he couldn't quite succeedand it ended in
his rolling overbundled up in the umbrellawith only his head
out: and there he layopening and shutting his mouth and his
large eyes--'looking more like a fish than anything else'
`Of course you agree to have a battle?' Tweedledum said in a
`I suppose so' the other sulkily repliedas he crawled out of
the umbrella: `only SHE must help us to dress upyou know.'
So the two brothers went off hand-in-hand into the woodand
returned in a minute with their arms full of things--such as
coal-scuttles. `I hope you're a good hand at pinning and tying
strings?' Tweedledum remarked. `Every one of these things has
got to go onsomehow or other.'
Alice said afterwards she had never seen such a fuss made about
anything in all her life--the way those two bustled about-and
the quantity of things they put on--and the trouble they
gave her in tying strings and fastening buttons--`Really
they'll be more like bundles of old clothes that anything else
by the time they're ready!' she said to herselfas she arranged a
bolster round the neck of Tweedledee`to keep his head from
being cut off' as he said.
`You know' he added very gravely`it's one of the most
serious things that can possibly happen to one in a battle--to
get one's head cut off.'
Alice laughed aloud: but she managed to turn it into a cough
for fear of hurting his feelings.
`Do I look very pale?' said Tweedledumcoming up to have his
helmet tied on. (He CALLED it a helmetthough it certainly
looked much more like a saucepan.)
`Well--yes--a LITTLE' Alice replied gently.
`I'm very brave generally' he went on in a low voice: `only
to-day I happen to have a headache.'
`And I'VE got a toothache!' said Tweedledeewho had overheard
the remark. `I'm far worse off than you!'
`Then you'd better not fight to-day' said Alicethinking it a
good opportunity to make peace.
`We MUST have a bit of a fightbut I don't care about going on
long' said Tweedledum. `What's the time now?'
Tweedledee looked at his watchand said `Half-past four.'
`Let's fight till sixand then have dinner' said Tweedledum.
`Very well' the other saidrather sadly: `and SHE can watch
us--only you'd better not come VERY close' he added: `I
generally hit everything I can see--when I get really excited.'
`And _I_ hit everything within reach' cried Tweedledum
`whether I can see it or not!'
Alice laughed. `You must hit the TREES pretty oftenI should
think' she said.
Tweedledum looked round him with a satisfied smile. `I don't suppose'
he said`there'll be a tree left standingfor ever so far round
by the time we've finished!'
`And all about a rattle!' said Alicestill hoping to make them
a LITTLE ashamed of fighting for such a trifle.
`I shouldn't have minded it so much' said Tweedledum`if it
hadn't been a new one.'
`I wish the monstrous crow would come!' though Alice.
`There's only one swordyou know' Tweedledum said to his
brother: `but you can have the umbrella--it's quite as sharp.
Only we must begin quick. It's getting as dark as it can.'
`And darker.' said Tweedledee.
It was getting dark so suddenly that Alice thought there must
be a thunderstorm coming on. `What a thick black cloud that is!'
she said. `And how fast it comes! WhyI do believe it's got
`It's the crow!' Tweedledum cried out in a shrill voice of
alarm: and the two brothers took to their heels and were out of
sight in a moment.
Alice ran a little way into the woodand stopped under a large
tree. `It can never get at me HERE' she thought: `it's far too
large to squeeze itself in among the trees. But I wish it wouldn't
flap its wings so--it makes quite a hurricane in the wood-here's
somebody's shawl being blown away!'
Wool and Water
She caught the shawl as she spokeand looked about for the
owner: in another moment the White Queen came running wildly
through the woodwith both arms stretched out wideas if she
were flyingand Alice very civilly went to meet her with the
`I'm very glad I happened to be in the way' Alice saidas she
helped her to put on her shawl again.
The White Queen only looked at her in a helpless frightened
sort of wayand kept repeating something in a whisper to
herself that sounded like `bread-and-butterbread-and-butter'
and Alice felt that if there was to be any conversation at all
she must manage it herself. So she began rather timidly: `Am I
addressing the White Queen?'
`Wellyesif you call that a-dressing' The Queen said. `It
isn't MY notion of the thingat all.'
Alice thought it would never do to have an argument at the very
beginning of their conversationso she smiled and said`If your
Majesty will only tell me the right way to beginI'll do it as
well as I can.'
`But I don't want it done at all!' groaned the poor Queen.
`I've been a-dressing myself for the last two hours.'
It would have been all the betteras it seemed to Aliceif
she had got some one else to dress hershe was so dreadfully
untidy. `Every single thing's crooked' Alice thought to
herself`and she's all over pins!--may I put your shawl
straight for you?' she added aloud.
`I don't know what's the matter with it!' the Queen saidin a
melancholy voice. `It's out of temperI think. I've pinned it
hereand I've pinned it therebut there's no pleasing it!'
`It CAN'T go straightyou knowif you pin it all on one
side' Alice saidas she gently put it right for her;
`anddear mewhat a state your hair is in!'
`The brush has got entangled in it!' the Queen said with a
sigh. `And I lost the comb yesterday.'
Alice carefully released the brushand did her best to get the
hair into order. `Comeyou look rather better now!' she said
after altering most of the pins. `But really you should have a
`I'm sure I'll take you with pleasure!' the Queen said.
`Twopence a weekand jam every other day.'
Alice couldn't help laughingas she said`I don't want you to
hire ME--and I don't care for jam.'
`It's very good jam' said the Queen.
`WellI don't want any TO-DAYat any rate.'
`You couldn't have it if you DID want it' the Queen said.
`The rule isjam to-morrow and jam yesterday--but never jam
`It MUST come sometimes to "jam to-day' Alice objected.
`No, it can't,' said the Queen. `It's jam every OTHER day:
to-day isn't any OTHER day, you know.'
`I don't understand you,' said Alice. `It's dreadfully
`That's the effect of living backwards,' the Queen said kindly:
`it always makes one a little giddy at first--'
`Living backwards!' Alice repeated in great astonishment. `I
never heard of such a thing!'
`--but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory
works both ways.'
`I'm sure MINE only works one way.' Alice remarked. `I can't
remember things before they happen.'
`It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the
`What sort of things do YOU remember best?' Alice ventured to
`Oh, things that happened the week after next,' the Queen
replied in a careless tone. `For instance, now,' she went on,
sticking a large piece of plaster [band-aid] on her finger as she
spoke, `there's the King's Messenger. He's in prison now, being
punished: and the trial doesn't even begin till next Wednesday:
and of course the crime comes last of all.'
`Suppose he never commits the crime?' said Alice.
`That would be all the better, wouldn't it?' the Queen said,
as she bound the plaster round her finger with a bit of ribbon.
Alice felt there was no denying THAT. `Of course it would be
all the better,' she said: `but it wouldn't be all the better
his being punished.'
`You're wrong THERE, at any rate,' said the Queen: `were YOU
`Only for faults,' said Alice.
`And you were all the better for it, I know!' the Queen said
`Yes, but then I HAD done the things I was punished for,' said
Alice: `that makes all the difference.'
`But if you HADN'T done them,' the Queen said, `that would have
been better still; better, and better, and better!' Her voice went
higher with each `better,' till it got quite to a squeak at last.
Alice was just beginning to say `There's a mistake somewhere--,'
when the Queen began screaming so loud that she had to leave
the sentence unfinished. `Oh, oh, oh!' shouted the Queen,
shaking her hand about as if she wanted to shake it off.
`My finger's bleeding! Oh, oh, oh, oh!'
Her screams were so exactly like the whistle of a steam-engine,
that Alice had to hold both her hands over her ears.
`What IS the matter?' she said, as soon as there was a chance
of making herself heard. `Have you pricked your finger?'
`I haven't pricked it YET,' the Queen said, `but I soon shall-oh,
`When do you expect to do it?' Alice asked, feeling very much
inclined to laugh.
`When I fasten my shawl again,' the poor Queen groaned out:
`the brooch will come undone directly. Oh, oh!' As she said the
words the brooch flew open, and the Queen clutched wildly at it,
and tried to clasp it again.
`Take care!' cried Alice. `You're holding it all crooked!'
And she caught at the brooch; but it was too late: the pin had
slipped, and the Queen had pricked her finger.
`That accounts for the bleeding, you see,' she said to Alice
with a smile. `Now you understand the way things happen here.'
`But why don't you scream now?' Alice asked, holding her hands
ready to put over her ears again.
`Why, I've done all the screaming already,' said the Queen.
`What would be the good of having it all over again?'
By this time it was getting light. `The crow must have flown
away, I think,' said Alice: `I'm so glad it's gone. I thought
it was the night coming on.'
`I wish _I_ could manage to be glad!' the Queen said. `Only I
never can remember the rule. You must be very happy, living in
this wood, and being glad whenever you like!'
`Only it is so VERY lonely here!' Alice said in a melancholy
voice; and at the thought of her loneliness two large tears came
rolling down her cheeks.
`Oh, don't go on like that!' cried the poor Queen, wringing her
hands in despair. `Consider what a great girl you are. Consider
what a long way you've come to-day. Consider what o'clock it is.
Consider anything, only don't cry!'
Alice could not help laughing at this, even in the midst of her tears.
`Can YOU keep from crying by considering things?' she asked.
`That's the way it's done,' the Queen said with great decision:
`nobody can do two things at once, you know. Let's consider your age
to begin with--how old are you?'
`I'm seven and a half exactly.'
`You needn't say exactually' the Queen remarked: `I can
believe it without that. Now I'll give YOU something to believe.
I'm just one hundred and one, five months and a day.'
`I can't believe THAT!' said Alice.
`Can't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. `Try again:
draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'
Alice laughed. `There's no use trying,' she said: `one CAN'T
believe impossible things.'
`I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen.
`When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day.
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things
before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!'
The brooch had come undone as she spoke, and a sudden gust of
wind blew the Queen's shawl across a little brook. The Queen
spread out her arms again, and went flying after it, and this
time she succeeded in catching it for herself. `I've got it!'
she cried in a triumphant tone. `Now you shall see me pin it
on again, all by myself!'
`Then I hope your finger is better now?' Alice said very
politely, as she crossed the little brook after the Queen.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
`Oh, much better!' cried the Queen, her voice rising to a
squeak as she went on. `Much be-etter! Be-etter! Be-e-e-etter!
Be-e-ehh!' The last word ended in a long bleat, so like a sheep
that Alice quite started.
She looked at the Queen, who seemed to have suddenly wrapped
herself up in wool. Alice rubbed her eyes, and looked again.
She couldn't make out what had happened at all. Was she in a
shop? And was that really--was it really a SHEEP that was
sitting on the other side of the counter? Rub as she could, she
could make nothing more of it: she was in a little dark shop,
leaning with her elbows on the counter, and opposite to her was an
old Sheep, sitting in an arm-chair knitting, and every now and
then leaving off to look at her through a great pair of spectacles.
`What is it you want to buy?' the Sheep said at last, looking
up for a moment from her knitting.
`I don't QUITE know yet,' Alice said, very gently. `I should
like to look all round me first, if I might.'
`You may look in front of you, and on both sides, if you like,'
said the Sheep: `but you can't look ALL round you--unless
you've got eyes at the back of your head.'
But these, as it happened, Alice had NOT got: so she contented herself
with turning round, looking at the shelves as she came to them.
The shop seemed to be full of all manner of curious things-but
the oddest part of it all was, that whenever she looked hard
at any shelf, to make out exactly what it had on it, that
particular shelf was always quite empty: though the others round
it were crowded as full as they could hold.
`Things flow about so here!' she said at last in a plaintive
tone, after she had spent a minute or so in vainly pursuing a
large bright thing, that looked sometimes like a doll and
sometimes like a work-box, and was always in the shelf next above
the one she was looking at. `And this one is the most provoking
of all--but I'll tell you what--' she added, as a sudden
thought struck her, `I'll follow it up to the very top shelf of
all. It'll puzzle it to go through the ceiling, I expect!'
But even this plan failed: the `thing' went through the
ceiling as quietly as possible, as if it were quite used to it.
`Are you a child or a teetotum?' the Sheep said, as she took up
another pair of needles. `You'll make me giddy soon, if you go
on turning round like that.' She was now working with fourteen
pairs at once, and Alice couldn't help looking at her in great
`How CAN she knit with so many?' the puzzled child thought to
herself. `She gets more and more like a porcupine every minute!'
`Can you row?' the Sheep asked, handing her a pair of knittingneedles
as she spoke.
`Yes, a little--but not on land--and not with needles--'
Alice was beginning to say, when suddenly the needles turned into
oars in her hands, and she found they were in a little boat,
gliding along between banks: so there was nothing for it but to
do her best.
`Feather!' cried the Sheep, as she took up another pair of
This didn't sound like a remark that needed any answer, so
Alice said nothing, but pulled away. There was something very
queer about the water, she thought, as every now and then the
oars got fast in it, and would hardly come out again.
`Feather! Feather!' the Sheep cried again, taking more
needles. `You'll be catching a crab directly.'
`A dear little crab!' thought Alice. `I should like that.'
`Didn't you hear me say Feather"?' the Sheep cried angrily
taking up quite a bunch of needles.
`Indeed I did' said Alice: `you've said it very often--and
very loud. Pleasewhere ARE the crabs?'
`In the waterof course!' said the Sheepsticking some of the
needles into her hairas her hands were full. `FeatherI say!'
`WHY do you say "feather" so often?' Alice asked at last
rather vexed. 'I'm not a bird!'
`You are' said the Sheet: `you're a little goose.'
This offended Alice a littleso there was no more conversation
for a minute or twowhile the boat glided gently onsometimes
among beds of weeds (which made the oars stick fast in the water
worse then ever)and sometimes under treesbut always with the
same tall river-banks frowning over their heads.
`Ohplease! There are some scented rushes!' Alice cried in a
sudden transport of delight. `There really are--and SUCH
`You needn't say "please" to ME about `em' the Sheep said
without looking up from her knitting: `I didn't put `em there
and I'm not going to take `em away.'
`Nobut I meant--pleasemay we wait and pick some?' Alice
pleaded. `If you don't mind stopping the boat for a minute.'
`How am _I_ to stop it?' said the Sheep. `If you leave off
rowingit'll stop of itself.'
So the boat was left to drift down the stream as it wouldtill
it glided gently in among the waving rushes. And then the little
sleeves were carefully rolled upand the little arms were
plunged in elbow-deep to get the rushes a good long way down
before breaking them off--and for a while Alice forgot all
about the Sheep and the knittingas she bent over the side of
the boatwith just the ends of her tangled hair dipping into the
water--while with bright eager eyes she caught at one bunch
after another of the darling scented rushes.
`I only hope the boat won't tipple over!' she said to herself.
OhWHAT a lovely one! Only I couldn't quite reach it.' `And it
certainly DID seem a little provoking (`almost as if it happened
on purpose' she thought) thatthough she managed to pick plenty
of beautiful rushes as the boat glided bythere was always a
more lovely one that she couldn't reach.
`The prettiest are always further!' she said at lastwith a
sigh at the obstinacy of the rushes in growing so far offas
with flushed cheeks and dripping hair and handsshe scrambled
back into her placeand began to arrange her new-found treasures.
What mattered it to her just than that the rushes had begun to
fadeand to lose all their scent and beautyfrom the very
moment that she picked them? Even real scented rushesyou know
last only a very little while--and thesebeing dream-rushes
melted away almost like snowas they lay in heaps at her feet-but
Alice hardly noticed thisthere were so many other curious
things to think about.
They hadn't gone much farther before the blade of one of the
oars got fast in the water and WOULDN'T come out again (so Alice
explained it afterwards)and the consequence was that the handle
of it caught her under the chinandin spite of a series of
little shrieks of `Ohohoh!' from poor Aliceit swept her
straight off the seatand down among the heap of rushes.
Howevershe wasn't hurtand was soon up again: the Sheep
went on with her knitting all the whilejust as if nothing had
happened. `That was a nice crab you caught!' she remarkedas
Alice got back into her placevery much relieved to find herself
still in the boat.
`Was it? I didn't see it' Said Alicepeeping cautiously over
the side of the boat into the dark water. `I wish it hadn't let
go--I should so like to see a little crab to take home with
me!' But the Sheep only laughed scornfullyand went on with her
`Are there many crabs here?' said Alice.
`Crabsand all sorts of things' said the Sheep: `plenty of
choiceonly make up your mind. Nowwhat DO you want to buy?'
`To buy!' Alice echoed in a tone that was half astonished and
half frightened--for the oarsand the boatand the river
had vanished all in a momentand she was back again in the
little dark shop.
`I should like to buy an eggplease' she said timidly. `How
do you sell them?'
`Fivepence farthing for one--Twopence for two' the Sheep
`Then two are cheaper than one?' Alice said in a surprised
tonetaking out her purse.
`Only you MUST eat them bothif you buy two' said the Sheep.
`Then I'll have ONEplease' said Aliceas she put the money
down on the counter. For she thought to herself`They mightn't
be at all niceyou know.'
The Sheep took the moneyand put it away in a box: then she
said `I never put things into people's hands--that would never
do--you must get it for yourself.' And so sayingshe went off
to the other end of the shopand set the egg upright on a shelf.
`I wonder WHY it wouldn't do?' thought Aliceas she groped her
way among the tables and chairsfor the shop was very dark
towards the end. `The egg seems to get further away the more I
walk towards it. Let me seeis this a chair? Whyit's got
branchesI declare! How very odd to find trees growing here!
And actually here's a little brook! Wellthis is the very
queerest shop I ever saw!'
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
So she went onwondering more and more at every stepas
everything turned into a tree the moment she came up to itand
she quite expected the egg to do the same.
Howeverthe egg only got larger and largerand more and more
human: when she had come within a few yards of itshe saw that
it had eyes and a nose and mouth; and when she had come close to
itshe saw clearly that it was HUMPTY DUMPTY himself. `It can't
be anybody else!' she said to herself. `I'm as certain of itas
if his name were written all over his face.'
It might have been written a hundred timeseasilyon that
enormous face. Humpty Dumpty was sitting with his legs crossed
like a Turkon the top of a high wall--such a narrow one that
Alice quite wondered how he could keep his balance--andas his
eyes were steadily fixed in the opposite directionand he didn't
take the least notice of hershe thought he must be a stuffed
figure after all.
`And how exactly like an egg he is!' she said aloudstanding
with her hands ready to catch himfor she was every moment
expecting him to fall.
`It's VERY provoking' Humpty Dumpty said after a long silence
looking away from Alice as he spoke`to be called an egg-VERY!'
`I said you LOOKED like an eggSir' Alice gently explained.
`And some eggs are very prettyyou know' she addedhoping to
turn her remark into a sort of a compliment.
`Some people' said Humpty Dumptylooking away from her as
usual`have no more sense than a baby!'
Alice didn't know what to say to this: it wasn't at all like
conversationshe thoughtas he never said anything to HER; in
facthis last remark was evidently addressed to a tree--so she
stood and softly repeated to herself: -
`Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall:
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty in his place again.'
`That last line is much too long for the poetry' she added
almost out loudforgetting that Humpty Dumpty would hear her.
`Don't stand there chattering to yourself like that' Humpty
Dumpty saidlooking at her for the first time`but tell me your
name and your business.'
`My NAME is Alicebut--'
`It's a stupid enough name!' Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently.
`What does it mean?'
`MUST a name mean something?' Alice asked doubtfully.
`Of course it must' Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh:
`MY name means the shape I am--and a good handsome shape it is
too. With a name like yoursyou might be any shapealmost.'
`Why do you sit out here all alone?' said Alicenot wishing
to begin an argument.
`Whybecause there's nobody with me!' cried Humpty Dumpty.
`Did you think I didn't know the answer to THAT? Ask another.'
`Don't you think you'd be safer down on the ground?' Alice went
onnot with any idea of making another riddlebut simply in her
good-natured anxiety for the queer creature. `That wall is so
`What tremendously easy riddles you ask!' Humpty Dumpty growled
out. `Of course I don't think so! Whyif ever I DID fall off-which
there's no chance of--but IF I did--' Here he pursed
his lips and looked so solemn and grand that Alice could hardly
help laughing. `IF I did fall' he went on`THE KING HAS
PROMISED ME--WITH HIS VERY OWN MOUTH--to--to--'
`To send all his horses and all his men' Alice interrupted
`Now I declare that's too bad!' Humpty Dumpty criedbreaking into
a sudden passion. `You've been listening at doors--and behind trees-and
down chimneys--or you couldn't have known it!'
`I haven'tindeed!' Alice said very gently. `It's in a book.'
`Ahwell! They may write such things in a BOOK' Humpty
Dumpty said in a calmer tone. `That's what you call a History of
Englandthat is. Nowtake a good look at me! I'm one that has
spoken to a King_I_ am: mayhap you'll never see such another:
and to show you I'm not proudyou may shake hands with me!' And
he grinned almost from ear to earas he leant forwards (and as
nearly as possible fell of the wall in doing so) and offered
Alice his hand. She watched him a little anxiously as she took
it. `If he smiled much morethe ends of his mouth might meet
behind' she thought: `and then I don't know what would happen
to his head! I'm afraid it would come off!'
`Yesall his horses and all his men' Humpty Dumpty went on.
`They'd pick me up again in a minuteTHEY would! Howeverthis
conversation is going on a little too fast: let's go back to the
last remark but one.'
`I'm afraid I can't quite remember it' Alice said very
`In that case we start fresh' said Humpty Dumpty`and it's my
turn to choose a subject--' (`He talks about it just as if it
was a game!' thought Alice.) `So here's a question for you. How
old did you say you were?'
Alice made a short calculationand said `Seven years and six
`Wrong!' Humpty Dumpty exclaimed triumphantly. `You never
said a word like it!'
`I though you meant "How old ARE you?"' Alice explained.
`If I'd meant thatI'd have said it' said Humpty Dumpty.
Alice didn't want to begin another argumentso she said
`Seven years and six months!' Humpty Dumpty repeated
thoughtfully. `An uncomfortable sort of age. Now if you'd asked
MY adviceI'd have said "Leave off at seven"--but it's too
`I never ask advice about growing' Alice said indignantly.
`Too proud?' the other inquired.
Alice felt even more indignant at this suggestion. `I mean'
she said`that one can't help growing older.'
`ONE can'tperhaps' said Humpty Dumpty`but TWO can. With
proper assistanceyou might have left off at seven.'
`What a beautiful belt you've got on!' Alice suddenly remarked.
(They had had quite enough of the subject of ageshe thought:
and if they really were to take turns in choosing subjectsit
was her turn now.) `At least' she corrected herself on second
thoughts`a beautiful cravatI should have said--noa belt
I mean--I beg your pardon!' she added in dismayfor Humpty
Dumpty looked thoroughly offendedand she began to wish she
hadn't chosen that subject. `If I only knew' the thought to
herself'which was neck and which was waist!'
Evidently Humpty Dumpty was very angrythough he said nothing
for a minute or two. When he DID speak againit was in a deep
`It is a--MOST--PROVOKING--thing' he said at last`when
a person doesn't know a cravat from a belt!'
`I know it's very ignorant of me' Alice saidin so humble a
tone that Humpty Dumpty relented.
`It's a cravatchildand a beautiful oneas you say. It's a
present from the White King and Queen. There now!'
`Is it really?' said Alicequite pleased to find that she HAD
chosen a good subjectafter all.
`They gave it me' Humpty Dumpty continued thoughtfullyas he
crossed one knee over the other and clasped his hands round it
`they gave it me--for an un-birthday present.'
`I beg your pardon?' Alice said with a puzzled air.
`I'm not offended' said Humpty Dumpty.
`I meanwhat IS an un-birthday present?'
`A present given when it isn't your birthdayof course.'
Alice considered a little. `I like birthday presents best'
she said at last.
`You don't know what you're talking about!' cried Humpty
Dumpty. `How many days are there in a year?'
`Three hundred and sixty-five' said Alice.
`And how many birthdays have you?'
`And if you take one from three hundred and sixty-fivewhat
`Three hundred and sixty-fourof course.'
Humpty Dumpty looked doubtful. `I'd rather see that done on
paper' he said.
Alice couldn't help smiling as she took out her memorandum-
bookand worked the sum for him:
Humpty Dumpty took the bookand looked at it carefully. `That
seems to be done right--' he began.
`You're holding it upside down!' Alice interrupted.
`To be sure I was!' Humpty Dumpty said gailyas she turned it
round for him. `I thought it looked a little queer. As I was
sayingthat SEEMS to be done right--though I haven't time to
look it over thoroughly just now--and that shows that there are
three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday
`Certainly' said Alice.
`And only ONE for birthday presentsyou know. There's glory
`I don't know what you mean by "glory' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't-till
I tell you. I meant there's a nice knock-down argument for
`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument' Alice
`When _I_ use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful
tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor
`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you CAN make words mean
so many different things.'
`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master-that's
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute
Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them-particularly
verbs, they're the proudest--adjectives you can do
anything with, but not verbs--however, _I_ can manage the whole
lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what _I_ say!'
`Would you tell me, please,' said Alice `what that means?'
`Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty,
looking very much pleased. `I meant by impenetrability" that
we've had enough of that subjectand it would be just as well
if you'd mention what you mean to do nextas I suppose you don't
mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'
`That's a great deal to make one word mean' Alice said in a
`When I make a word do a lot of work like that' said Humpty
Dumpty`I always pay it extra.'
`Oh!' said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other
`Ahyou should see 'em come round me of a Saturday night'
Humpty Dumpty went onwagging his head gravely from side to
side: `for to get their wagesyou know.'
(Alice didn't venture to ask what he paid them with; and so you
see I can't tell YOU.)
`You seem very clever at explaining wordsSir' said Alice.
`Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called
`Let's hear it' said Humpty Dumpty. `I can explain all the
poems that were ever invented--and a good many that haven't
been invented just yet.'
This sounded very hopefulso Alice repeated the first verse:
'Twas brilligand the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves
And the mome raths outgrabe.
`That's enough to begin with' Humpty Dumpty interrupted:
`there are plenty of hard words there. "BRILLIG" means four
o'clock in the afternoon--the time when you begin BROILING
things for dinner.'
`That'll do very well' said Alice: and "SLITHY"?'
`WellSLITHYmeans "lithe and slimy." "Lithe" is the same
as "active." You see it's like a portmanteau--there are two
meanings packed up into one word.'
`I see it now' Alice remarked thoughtfully: `and what are
`WellTOVESare something like badgers--they're something
like lizards--and they're something like corkscrews.'
`They must be very curious looking creatures.'
`They are that' said Humpty Dumpty: `also they make their
nests under sun-dials--also they live on cheese.'
`Andy what's the "GYRE" and to "GIMBLE"?'
`To "GYRE" is to go round and round like a gyroscope. To
GIMBLEis to make holes like a gimlet.'
`And "THE WABE" is the grass-plot round a sun-dialI suppose?'
said Alicesurprised at her own ingenuity.
`Of course it is. It's called "WABE you know, because it
goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it--'
`And a long way beyond it on each side,' Alice added.
`Exactly so. Well, then, MIMSY" is "flimsy and miserable"
(there's another portmanteau for you). And a "BOROGOVE" is a
thin shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round-something
like a live mop.'
`And then "MOME RATHS"?' said Alice. `I'm afraid I'm giving
you a great deal of trouble.'
`Wella "RATH" is a sort of green pig: but "MOME" I'm not
certain about. I think it's short for "from home"--meaning
that they'd lost their wayyou know.'
`And what does "OUTGRABE" mean?'
`WellOUTGRABINGis something between bellowing and
whistlingwith a kind of sneeze in the middle: howeveryou'll
hear it donemaybe--down in the wood yonder--and when you've
once heard it you'll be QUITE content. Who's been repeating all
that hard stuff to you?'
`I read it in a book' said Alice. `But I had some poetry
repeated to memuch easier than thatby--TweedledeeI think
`As to poetryyou know' said Humpty Dumptystretching out
one of his great hands`_I_ can repeat poetry as well as other
folkif it comes to that--'
`Ohit needn't come to that!' Alice hastily saidhoping to
keep him from beginning.
`The piece I'm going to repeat' he went on without noticing
her remark' was written entirely for your amusement.'
Alice felt that in that case she really OUGHT to listen to it
so she sat downand said `Thank you' rather sadly.
`In winterwhen the fields are white
I sing this song for your delight-
only I don't sing it' he addedas an explanation.
`I see you don't' said Alice.
`If you can SEE whether I'm singing or notyou've sharper eyes
than most.' Humpty Dumpty remarked severely. Alice was silent.
`In springwhen woods are getting green
I'll try and tell you what I mean.'
`Thank you very much' said Alice.
`In summerwhen the days are long
Perhaps you'll understand the song:
In autumnwhen the leaves are brown
Take pen and inkand write it down.'
`I willif I can remember it so long' said Alice.
`You needn't go on making remarks like that' Humpty Dumpty
said: `they're not sensibleand they put me out.'
`I sent a message to the fish:
I told them "This is what I wish."
The little fishes of the sea
They sent an answer back to me.
The little fishes' answer was
We cannot do it, Sir, because--'
`I'm afraid I don't quite understand' said Alice.
`It gets easier further on' Humpty Dumpty replied.
`I sent to them again to say
It will be better to obey.
The fishes answered with a grin
Why, what a temper you are in!
I told them onceI told them twice:
They would not listen to advice.
I took a kettle large and new
Fit for the deed I had to do.
My heart went hopmy heart went thump;
I filled the kettle at the pump.
Then some one came to me and said
The little fishes are in bed.
I said to himI said it plain
Then you must wake them up again.
I said it very loud and clear;
I went and shouted in his ear.'
Humpty Dumpty raised his voice almost to a scream as he
repeated this verseand Alice thought with a shudder`I
wouldn't have been the messenger for ANYTHING!'
`But he was very stiff and proud;
He said "You needn't shout so loud!"
And he was very proud and stiff;
He said "I'd go and wake themif--"
I took a corkscrew from the shelf:
I went to wake them up myself.
And when I found the door was locked
I pulled and pushed and kicked and knocked.
And when I found the door was shut
I tried to turn the handlebut--'
There was a long pause.
`Is that all?' Alice timidly asked.
`That's all' said Humpty Dumpty. `Good-bye.'
This was rather suddenAlice thought: butafter such a VERY
strong hint that she ought to be goingshe felt that it would
hardly be civil to stay. So she got upand held out her hand.
`Good-byetill we meet again!' she said as cheerfully as she
`I shouldn't know you again if we DID meet' Humpty Dumpty
replied in a discontented tonegiving her one of his fingers to
shake; `you're so exactly like other people.'
`The face is what one goes bygenerally' Alice remarked in a
`That's just what I complain of' said Humpty Dumpty. `Your
face is the same as everybody has--the two eyesso--'
(marking their places in the air with this thumb) `nose in the
middlemouth under. It's always the same. Now if you had the
two eyes on the same side of the nosefor instance--or the
mouth at the top--that would be SOME help.'
`It wouldn't look nice' Alice objected. But Humpty Dumpty
only shut his eyes and said `Wait till you've tried.'
Alice waited a minute to see if he would speak againbut as he
never opened his eyes or took any further notice of hershe said
`Good-bye!' once moreandgetting no answer to thisshe
quietly walked away: but she couldn't help saying to herself as
she went`Of all the unsatisfactory--' (she repeated this
aloudas it was a great comfort to have such a long word to say)
`of all the unsatisfactory people I EVER met--' She never
finished the sentencefor at this moment a heavy crash shook the
forest from end to end.
The Lion and the Unicorn
The next moment soldiers came running through the woodat first
in twos and threesthen ten or twenty togetherand at last in
such crowds that they seemed to fill the whole forest. Alice got
behind a treefor fear of being run overand watched them go by.
She thought that in all her life she had never seen soldiers so
uncertain on their feet: they were always tripping over
something or otherand whenever one went downseveral more
always fell over himso that the ground was soon covered with
little heaps of men.
Then came the horses. Having four feetthese managed rather
better than the foot-soldiers: but even THEY stumbled now and
then; and it seemed to be a regular rule thatwhenever a horse
stumbled the rider fell off instantly. The confusion got worse
every momentand Alice was very glad to get out of the wood into
an open placewhere she found the White King seated on the
groundbusily writing in his memorandum-book.
`I've sent them all!' the King cried in a tone of delighton
seeing Alice. `Did you happen to meet any soldiersmy dearas
you came through the wood?'
`YesI did' said Alice: `several thousandI should think.'
`Four thousand two hundred and seventhat's the exact number'
the King saidreferring to his book. `I couldn't send all the
horsesyou knowbecause two of them are wanted in the game.
And I haven't sent the two Messengerseither. They're both gone
to the town. Just look along the roadand tell me if you can
see either of them.'
`I see nobody on the road' said Alice.
`I only wish _I_ had such eyes' the King remarked in a fretful
tone. `To be able to see Nobody! And at that distancetoo!
Whyit's as much as _I_ can do to see real peopleby this
All this was lost on Alicewho was still looking intently
along the roadshading her eyes with one hand. `I see somebody
now!' she exclaimed at last. `But he's coming very slowly--and
what curious attitudes he goes into!' (For the messenger kept
skipping up and downand wriggling like an eelas he came
alongwith his great hands spread out like fans on each side.)
`Not at all' said the King. `He's an Anglo-Saxon Messenger-and
those are Anglo-Saxon attitudes. He only does them when
he's happy. His name is Haigha.' (He pronounced it so as to
rhyme with `mayor.')
`I love my love with an H' Alice couldn't help beginning
`because he is Happy. I hate him with an Hbecause he is Hideous.
I fed him with--with--with Ham-sandwiches and Hay.
His name is Haighaand he lives--'
`He lives on the Hill' the King remarked simplywithout the
least idea that he was joining in the gamewhile Alice was still
hesitating for the name of a town beginning with H. `The other
Messenger's called Hatta. I must have TWOyou know--to come
and go. Once to comeand one to go.'
`I beg your pardon?' said Alice.
`It isn't respectable to beg' said the King.
`I only meant that I didn't understand' said Alice. `Why one
to come and one to go?'
`Didn't I tell you?' the King repeated impatiently. `I must
have Two--to fetch and carry. One to fetchand one to carry.'
At this moment the Messenger arrived: he was far too much out
of breath to say a wordand could only wave his hands aboutand
make the most fearful faces at the poor King.
`This young lady loves you with an H' the King said
introducing Alice in the hope of turning off the Messenger's
attention from himself--but it was no use--the Anglo-Saxon
attitudes only got more extraordinary every momentwhile the
great eyes rolled wildly from side to side.
`You alarm me!' said the King. `I feel faint--Give me a ham
On which the Messengerto Alice's great amusementopened a
bag that hung round his neckand handed a sandwich to the King
who devoured it greedily.
`Another sandwich!' said the King.
`There's nothing but hay left now' the Messenger saidpeeping
into the bag.
`Haythen' the King murmured in a faint whisper.
Alice was glad to see that it revived him a good deal.
`There's nothing like eating hay when you're faint' he remarked
to heras he munched away.
`I should think throwing cold water over you would be better'
Alice suggested: `or some sal-volatile.'
`I didn't say there was nothing BETTER' the King replied. `I said
there was nothing LIKE it.' Which Alice did not venture to deny.
`Who did you pass on the road?' the King went onholding out
his hand to the Messenger for some more hay.
`Nobody' said the Messenger.
`Quite right' said the King: `this young lady saw him too.
So of course Nobody walks slower than you.'
`I do my best' the Messenger said in a sulky tone. `I'm sure
nobody walks much faster than I do!'
`He can't do that' said the King`or else he'd have been here
first. Howevernow you've got your breathyou may tell us
what's happened in the town.'
`I'll whisper it' said the Messengerputting his hands to his
mouth in the shape of a trumpetand stooping so as to get close
to the King's ear. Alice was sorry for thisas she wanted to
hear the news too. Howeverinstead of whisperinghe simply
shouted at the top of his voice `They're at it again!'
`Do you call THAT a whisper?' cried the poor Kingjumping up
and shaking himself. `If you do such a thing againI'll have
you buttered! It went through and through my head like an
`It would have to be a very tiny earthquake!' thought Alice.
`Who are at it again?' she ventured to ask.
`Why the Lion and the Unicornof course' said the King.
`Fighting for the crown?'
`Yesto be sure' said the King: `and the best of the joke
isthat it's MY crown all the while! Let's run and see them.'
And they trotted offAlice repeating to herselfas she ranthe
words of the old song:-
`The Lion and the Unicorn were fighting for the crown:
The Lion beat the Unicorn all round the town.
Some gave them white breadsome gave them brown;
Some gave them plum-cake and drummed them out of town.'
`Does--the one--that wins--get the crown?' she askedas
well as she couldfor the run was putting her quite out of
`Dear meno!' said the King. `What an idea!'
`Would you--be good enough' Alice panted outafter running
a little further`to stop a minute--just to get--one's
`I'm GOOD enough' the King said`only I'm not strong enough.
You seea minute goes by so fearfully quick. You might as well
try to stop a Bandersnatch!'
Alice had no more breath for talkingso they trotted on in
silencetill they came in sight of a great crowdin the middle
of which the Lion and Unicorn were fighting. They were in such a
cloud of dustthat at first Alice could not make out which was
which: but she soon managed to distinguish the Unicorn by his
They placed themselves close to where Hattathe other
messengerwas standing watching the fightwith a cup of tea in
one hand and a piece of bread-and-butter in the other.
`He's only just out of prisonand he hadn't finished his tea
when he was sent in' Haigha whispered to Alice: `and they only
give them oyster-shells in there--so you see he's very hungry
and thirsty. How are youdear child?' he went onputting his
arm affectionately round Hatta's neck.
Hatta looked round and noddedand went on with his bread and
`Were you happy in prisondear child?' said Haigha.
Hatta looked round once moreand this time a tear or two
trickled down his cheek: but not a word would he say.
`Speakcan't you!' Haigha cried impatiently. But Hatta only
munched awayand drank some more tea.
`Speakwon't you!' cried the King. 'How are they getting on
with the fight?'
Hatta made a desperate effortand swallowed a large piece of
bread-and-butter. `They're getting on very well' he said in a
choking voice: `each of them has been down about eighty-seven
`Then I suppose they'll soon bring the white bread and the
brown?' Alice ventured to remark.
`It's waiting for 'em now' said Hatta: `this is a bit of it
as I'm eating.'
There was a pause in the fight just thenand the Lion and the
Unicorn sat downpantingwhile the King called out `Ten minutes
allowed for refreshments!' Haigha and Hatta set to work at once
carrying rough trays of white and brown bread. Alice took a
piece to tastebut it was VERY dry.
`I don't think they'll fight any more to-day' the King said to
Hatta: `go and order the drums to begin.' And Hatta went
bounding away like a grasshopper.
For a minute or two Alice stood silentwatching him. Suddenly
she brightened up. `Looklook!' she criedpointing eagerly.
`There's the White Queen running across the country! She came
flying out of the wood over yonder--How fast those Queens CAN
`There's some enemy after herno doubt' the King said
without even looking round. `That wood's full of them.'
`But aren't you going to run and help her?' Alice askedvery
much surprised at his taking it so quietly.
`No useno use!' said the King. `She runs so fearfully quick.
You might as well try to catch a Bandersnatch! But I'll make a
memorandum about herif you like--She's a dear good creature'
he repeated softly to himselfas he opened his memorandum-book.
`Do you spell "creature" with a double "e"?'
At this moment the Unicorn sauntered by themwith his hands in
his pockets. `I had the best of it this time?' he said to the
Kingjust glancing at him as he passed.
`A little--a little' the King repliedrather nervously.
`You shouldn't have run him through with your hornyou know.'
`It didn't hurt him' the Unicorn said carelesslyand he was
going onwhen his eye happened to fall upon Alice: he turned
round rather instantlyand stood for some time looking at her
with an air of the deepest disgust.
`What--is--this?' he said at last.
`This is a child!' Haigha replied eagerlycoming in front of
Alice to introduce herand spreading out both his hands towards
her in an Anglo-Saxon attitude. `We only found it to-day. It's
as large as lifeand twice as natural!'
`I always thought they were fabulous monsters!' said the
Unicorn. `Is it alive?'
`It can talk' said Haighasolemnly.
The Unicorn looked dreamily at Aliceand said `Talkchild.'
Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began:
`Do you knowI always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsterstoo!
I never saw one alive before!'
`Wellnow that we HAVE seen each other' said the Unicorn
`if you'll believe in meI'll believe in you. Is that a bargain?'
`Yesif you like' said Alice.
`Comefetch out the plum-cakeold man!' the Unicorn went on
turning from her to the King. `None of your brown bread for me!'
`Certainly--certainly!' the King mutteredand beckoned to
Haigha. `Open the bag!' he whispered. `Quick! Not that one-that's
full of hay!'
Haigha took a large cake out of the bagand gave it to Alice
to holdwhile he got out a dish and carving-knife. How they all
came out of it Alice couldn't guess. It was just like a
The Lion had joined them while this was going on: he looked
very tired and sleepyand his eyes were half shut. `What's
this!' he saidblinking lazily at Aliceand speaking in a deep
hollow tone that sounded like the tolling of a great bell.
`Ahwhat IS itnow?' the Unicorn cried eagerly. `You'll
never guess! _I_ couldn't.'
The Lion looked at Alice wearily. `Are you animal--vegetable
--or mineral?' he saidyawning at every other word.
`It's a fabulous monster!' the Unicorn cried outbefore Alice
`Then hand round the plum-cakeMonster' the Lion saidlying
down and putting his chin on this paws. `And sit downboth of
you' (to the King and the Unicorn): `fair play with the cake
The King was evidently very uncomfortable at having to sit down
between the two great creatures; but there was no other place for him.
`What a fight we might have for the crownNOW!' the Unicorn
saidlooking slyly up at the crownwhich the poor King was
nearly shaking off his headhe trembled so much.
`I should win easy' said the Lion.
`I'm not so sure of that' said the Unicorn.
`WhyI beat you all round the townyou chicken!' the Lion
replied angrilyhalf getting up as he spoke.
Here the King interruptedto prevent the quarrel going on: he
was very nervousand his voice quite quivered. `All round the
town?' he said. `That's a good long way. Did you go by the old
bridgeor the market-place? You get the best view by the old
`I'm sure I don't know' the Lion growled out as he lay down
again. `There was too much dust to see anything. What a time
the Monster iscutting up that cake!'
Alice had seated herself on the bank of a little brookwith
the great dish on her kneesand was sawing away diligently with
the knife. `It's very provoking!' she saidin reply to the Lion
(she was getting quite used to being called `the Monster').
`I've cut several slices alreadybut they always join on again!'
`You don't know how to manage Looking-glass cakes' the Unicorn
remarked. `Hand it round firstand cut it afterwards.'
This sounded nonsensebut Alice very obediently got upand
carried the dish roundand the cake divided itself into three
pieces as she did so. `NOW cut it up' said the Lionas she
returned to her place with the empty dish.
`I saythis isn't fair!' cried the Unicornas Alice sat with
the knife in her handvery much puzzled how to begin. `The
Monster has given the Lion twice as much as me!'
`She's kept none for herselfanyhow' said the Lion. `Do you
But before Alice could answer himthe drums began.
Where the noise came fromshe couldn't make out: the air
seemed full of itand it rang through and through her head till
she felt quite deafened. She started to her feet and sprang
across the little brook in her terror
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
and had just time to see the Lion and the Unicorn rise to their
feetwith angry looks at being interrupted in their feast
before she dropped to her kneesand put her hands over her ears
vainly trying to shut out the dreadful uproar.
`If THAT doesn't "drum them out of town' she thought to
herself, 'nothing ever will!'
`It's my own Invention'
After a while the noise seemed gradually to die away, till all
was dead silence, and Alice lifted up her head in some alarm.
There was no one to be seen, and her first thought was that she
must have been dreaming about the Lion and the Unicorn and those
still lying at her feet, on which she had tried to cut the plumcake,
`So I wasn't dreaming, after all,' she said to herself,
`unless--unless we're all part of the same dream. Only I do
hope it's MY dream, and not the Red King's! I don't like
belonging to another person's dream,' she went on in a rather
complaining tone: `I've a great mind to go and wake him, and see
At this moment her thoughts were interrupted by a loud shouting
of `Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!' and a Knight dressed in crimson armour
came galloping down upon her, brandishing a great club. Just as
he reached her, the horse stopped suddenly: `You're my
prisoner!' the Knight cried, as he tumbled off his horse.
Startled as she was, Alice was more frightened for him than for
herself at the moment, and watched him with some anxiety as he
mounted again. As soon as he was comfortably in the saddle, he
began once more `You're my--' but here another voice broke in
`Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!' and Alice looked round in some surprise
for the new enemy.
This time it was a White Knight. He drew up at Alice's side,
and tumbled off his horse just as the Red Knight had done: then
he got on again, and the two Knights sat and looked at each other
for some time without speaking. Alice looked from one to the
other in some bewilderment.
`She's MY prisoner, you know!' the Red Knight said at last.
`Yes, but then _I_ came and rescued her!' the White Knight
`Well, we must fight for her, then,' said the Red Knight, as he
took up his helmet (which hung from the saddle, and was something
the shape of a horse's head), and put it on.
`You will observe the Rules of Battle, of course?' the White
Knight remarked, putting on his helmet too.
`I always do,' said the Red Knight, and they began banging away
at each other with such fury that Alice got behind a tree to be
out of the way of the blows.
`I wonder, now, what the Rules of Battle are,' she said to
herself, as she watched the fight, timidly peeping out from her
hiding-place: `one Rule seems to be, that if one Knight hits the
other, he knocks him off his horse, and if he misses, he tumbles
off himself--and another Rule seems to be that they hold their
clubs with their arms, as if they were Punch and Judy--What a
noise they make when they tumble! Just like a whole set of fireirons
falling into the fender! And how quiet the horses are!
They let them get on and off them just as if they were tables!'
Another Rule of Battle, that Alice had not noticed, seemed to
be that they always fell on their heads, and the battle ended
with their both falling off in this way, side by side: when they
got up again, they shook hands, and then the Red Knight mounted
and galloped off.
`It was a glorious victory, wasn't it?' said the White Knight,
as he came up panting.
`I don't know,' Alice said doubtfully. `I don't want to be
anybody's prisoner. I want to be a Queen.'
`So you will, when you've crossed the next brook,' said the
White Knight. `I'll see you safe to the end of the wood--and
then I must go back, you know. That's the end of my move.'
`Thank you very much,' said Alice. `May I help you off with
your helmet?' It was evidently more than he could manage by
himself; however, she managed to shake him out of it at last.
`Now one can breathe more easily,' said the Knight, putting
back his shaggy hair with both hands, and turning his gentle face
and large mild eyes to Alice. She thought she had never seen
such a strange-looking soldier in all her life.
He was dressed in tin armour, which seemed to fit him very
badly, and he had a queer-shaped little deal box fastened across
his shoulder, upside-down, and with the lid hanging open. Alice
looked at it with great curiosity.
`I see you're admiring my little box.' the Knight said in a
friendly tone. `It's my own invention--to keep clothes and
sandwiches in. You see I carry it upside-down, so that the rain
can't get in.'
`But the things can get OUT,' Alice gently remarked. `Do you
know the lid's open?'
`I didn't know it,' the Knight said, a shade of vexation
passing over his face. `Then all the things much have fallen
out! And the box is no use without them.' He unfastened it as
he spoke, and was just going to throw it into the bushes,
when a sudden thought seemed to strike him, and he hung it carefully
on a tree. `Can you guess why I did that?' he said to Alice.
Alice shook her head.
`In hopes some bees may make a nest in it--then I should get the honey.'
`But you've got a bee-hive--or something like one--fastened to
the saddle,' said Alice.
`Yes, it's a very good bee-hive,' the Knight said in a
discontented tone, `one of the best kind. But not a single bee
has come near it yet. And the other thing is a mouse-trap. I
suppose the mice keep the bees out--or the bees keep the mice
out, I don't know which.'
`I was wondering what the mouse-trap was for,' said Alice. `It
isn't very likely there would be any mice on the horse's back.'
`Not very likely, perhaps,' said the Knight: `but if they DO
come, I don't choose to have them running all about.'
`You see,' he went on after a pause, `it's as well to be
provided for EVERYTHING. That's the reason the horse has all
those anklets round his feet.'
`But what are they for?' Alice asked in a tone of great
`To guard against the bites of sharks,' the Knight replied.
`It's an invention of my own. And now help me on. I'll go with
you to the end of the wood--What's the dish for?'
`It's meant for plum-cake,' said Alice.
`We'd better take it with us,' the Knight said. `It'll come in
handy if we find any plum-cake. Help me to get it into this bag.'
This took a very long time to manage, though Alice held the
bag open very carefully, because the Knight was so VERY awkward
in putting in the dish: the first two or three times that he
tried he fell in himself instead. `It's rather a tight fit, you
see,' he said, as they got it in a last; `There are so many
candlesticks in the bag.' And he hung it to the saddle, which
was already loaded with bunches of carrots, and fire-irons, and
many other things.
`I hope you've got your hair well fastened on?' he continued,
as they set off.
`Only in the usual way,' Alice said, smiling.
`That's hardly enough,' he said, anxiously. `You see the wind
is so VERY strong here. It's as strong as soup.'
`Have you invented a plan for keeping the hair from being blown
off?' Alice enquired.
`Not yet,' said the Knight. `But I've got a plan for keeping
it from FALLING off.'
`I should like to hear it, very much.'
`First you take an upright stick,' said the Knight. `Then you
make your hair creep up it, like a fruit-tree. Now the reason
hair falls off is because it hangs DOWN--things never fall
UPWARDS, you know. It's a plan of my own invention. You may try
it if you like.'
It didn't sound a comfortable plan, Alice thought, and for a
few minutes she walked on in silence, puzzling over the idea, and
every now and then stopping to help the poor Knight, who
certainly was NOT a good rider.
Whenever the horse stopped (which it did very often), he fell
off in front; and whenever it went on again (which it generally
did rather suddenly), he fell off behind. Otherwise he kept on
pretty well, except that he had a habit of now and then falling
off sideways; and as he generally did this on the side on which
Alice was walking, she soon found that it was the best plan not
to walk QUITE close to the horse.
`I'm afraid you've not had much practice in riding,' she
ventured to say, as she was helping him up from his fifth tumble.
The Knight looked very much surprised, and a little offended at
the remark. `What makes you say that?' he asked, as he scrambled
back into the saddle, keeping hold of Alice's hair with one hand,
to save himself from falling over on the other side.
`Because people don't fall off quite so often, when they've had
`I've had plenty of practice,' the Knight said very gravely:
`plenty of practice!'
Alice could think of nothing better to say than `Indeed?' but
she said it as heartily as she could. They went on a little way
in silence after this, the Knight with his eyes shut, muttering
to himself, and Alice watching anxiously for the next tumble.
`The great art of riding,' the Knight suddenly began in a loud
voice, waving his right arm as he spoke, `is to keep--' Here
the sentence ended as suddenly as it had begun, as the Knight
fell heavily on the top of his head exactly in the path where
Alice was walking. She was quite frightened this time, and said
in an anxious tone, as she picked him up, `I hope no bones are broken?'
`None to speak of,' the Knight said, as if he didn't mind breaking
two or three of them. `The great art of riding, as I was saying,
is--to keep your balance properly. Like this, you know--'
He let go the bridle, and stretched out both his arms to show
Alice what he meant, and this time he fell flat on his back,
right under the horse's feet.
`Plenty of practice!' he went on repeating, all the time that
Alice was getting him on his feet again. `Plenty of practice!'
`It's too ridiculous!' cried Alice, losing all her patience this time.
`You ought to have a wooden horse on wheels, that you ought!'
`Does that kind go smoothly?' the Knight asked in a tone of
great interest, clasping his arms round the horse's neck as he
spoke, just in time to save himself from tumbling off again.
`Much more smoothly than a live horse,' Alice said, with a little
scream of laughter, in spite of all she could do to prevent it.
`I'll get one,' the Knight said thoughtfully to himself. `One
There was a short silence after this, and then the Knight went
on again. `I'm a great hand at inventing things. Now, I daresay
you noticed, that last time you picked me up, that I was looking
`You WERE a little grave,' said Alice.
`Well, just then I was inventing a new way of getting over a
gate--would you like to hear it?'
`Very much indeed,' Alice said politely.
`I'll tell you how I came to think of it,' said the Knight.
`You see, I said to myself, The only difficulty is with the
feet: the HEAD is high enough already." Nowfirst I put my
head on the top of the gate--then I stand on my head--then
the feet are high enoughyou see--then I'm overyou see.'
`YesI suppose you'd be over when that was done' Alice said
thoughtfully: `but don't you think it would be rather hard?'
`I haven't tried it yet' the Knight saidgravely: `so I can't tell
for certain--but I'm afraid it WOULD be a little hard.'
He looked so vexed at the ideathat Alice changed the subject
hastily. `What a curious helmet you've got!' she said cheerfully.
`Is that your invention too?'
The Knight looked down proudly at his helmetwhich hung from
the saddle. `Yes' he said`but I've invented a better one than
that--like a sugar loaf. When I used to wear itif I fell off
the horseit always touched the ground directly. So I had a
VERY little way to fallyou see--But there WAS the danger of
falling INTO itto be sure. That happened to me once--and the
worst of it wasbefore I could get out againthe other White
Knight came and put it on. He thought it was his own helmet.'
The knight looked so solemn about it that Alice did not dare to
laugh. `I'm afraid you must have hurt him' she said in a
trembling voice`being on the top of his head.'
`I had to kick himof course' the Knight saidvery seriously.
`And then he took the helmet off again--but it took hours and hours
to get me out. I was as fast as--as lightningyou know.'
`But that's a different kind of fastness' Alice objected.
The Knight shook his head. `It was all kinds of fastness with
meI can assure you!' he said. He raised his hands in some
excitement as he said thisand instantly rolled out of the
saddleand fell headlong into a deep ditch.
Alice ran to the side of the ditch to look for him. She was
rather startled by the fallas for some time he had kept on very
welland she was afraid that he really WAS hurt this time.
Howeverthough she could see nothing but the soles of his feet
she was much relieved to hear that he was talking on in his usual
tone. `All kinds of fastness' he repeated: `but it was
careless of him to put another man's helmet on--with the man in
`How CAN you go on talking so quietlyhead downwards?' Alice
askedas she dragged him out by the feetand laid him in a heap
on the bank.
The Knight looked surprised at the question. `What does it
matter where my body happens to be?' he said. `My mind goes on
working all the same. In factthe more head downwards I amthe
more I keep inventing new things.'
`Now the cleverest thing of the sort that I ever did' he went
on after a pause`was inventing a new pudding during the meatcourse.'
`In time to have it cooked for the next course?' said Alice.
`Wellnot the NEXT course' the Knight said in a slow thoughtful
tone: `nocertainly not the next COURSE.'
`Then it would have to be the next day. I suppose you wouldn't
have two pudding-courses in one dinner?'
`Wellnot the NEXT day' the Knight repeated as before: `not
the next DAY. In fact' he went onholding his head downand
his voice getting lower and lower`I don't believe that pudding
ever WAS cooked! In factI don't believe that pudding ever WILL
be cooked! And yet it was a very clever pudding to invent.'
`What did you mean it to be made of?' Alice askedhoping to
cheer him upfor the poor Knight seemed quite low-spirited about it.
`It began with blotting paper' the Knight answered with a groan.
`That wouldn't be very niceI'm afraid--'
`Not very nice ALONE' he interruptedquite eagerly: `but
you've no idea what a difference it makes mixing it with other
things--such as gunpowder and sealing-wax. And here I must
leave you.' They had just come to the end of the wood.
Alice could only look puzzled: she was thinking of the pudding.
`You are sad' the Knight said in an anxious tone: `let me sing
you a song to comfort you.'
`Is it very long?' Alice askedfor she had heard a good deal
of poetry that day.
`It's long' said the Knight`but veryVERY beautiful.
Everybody that hears me sing it--either it brings the TEARS
into their eyesor else--'
`Or else what?' said Alicefor the Knight had made a sudden
`Or else it doesn'tyou know. The name of the song is called
`Ohthat's the name of the songis it?' Alice saidtrying to
`Noyou don't understand' the Knight saidlooking a little
vexed. `That's what the name is CALLED. The name really IS "THE
AGED AGED MAN."'
`Then I ought to have said "That's what the SONG is called"?'
Alice corrected herself.
`Noyou oughtn't: that's quite another thing! The SONG is
called "WAYS AND MEANS": but that's only what it's CALLEDyou
`Wellwhat IS the songthen?' said Alicewho was by this
time completely bewildered.
`I was coming to that' the Knight said. `The song really IS
A-SITTING ON A GATE: and the tune's my own invention.'
So sayinghe stopped his horse and let the reins fall on its
neck: thenslowly beating time with one handand with a faint
smile lighting up his gentle foolish faceas if he enjoyed the
music of his songhe began.
Of all the strange things that Alice saw in her journey Through
The Looking-Glassthis was the one that she always remembered
most clearly. Years afterwards she could bring the whole scene
back againas if it had been only yesterday--the mild blue
eyes and kindly smile of the Knight--the setting sun gleaming
through his hairand shining on his armour in a blaze of light
that quite dazzled her--the horse quietly moving aboutwith
the reins hanging loose on his neckcropping the grass at her
feet--and the black shadows of the forest behind--all this
she took in like a pictureaswith one hand shading her eyes
she leant against a treewatching the strange pairand
listeningin a half dreamto the melancholy music of the song.
`But the tune ISN'T his own invention' she said to herself:
`it's "I GIVE THEE ALLI CAN NO MORE."' She stood and listened
very attentivelybut no tears came into her eyes.
`I'll tell thee everything I can;
There's little to relate.
I saw an aged aged man
A-sitting on a gate.
Who are you, aged man?I said
and how is it you live?
And his answer trickled through my head
Like water through a sieve.
He said "I look for butterflies
That sleep among the wheat:
I make them into mutton-pies
And sell them in the street.
I sell them unto men he said,
Who sail on stormy seas;
And that's the way I get my bread-A
trifleif you please."
But I was thinking of a plan
To dye one's whiskers green
And always use so large a fan
That they could not be seen.
Sohaving no reply to give
To what the old man said
I criedCome, tell me how you live!
And thumped him on the head.
His accents mild took up the tale:
He said "I go my ways
And when I find a mountain-rill
I set it in a blaze;
And thence they make a stuff they call
Rolands' Macassar Oil-
Yet twopence-halfpenny is all
They give me for my toil."
But I was thinking of a way
To feed oneself on batter
And so go on from day to day
Getting a little fatter.
I shook him well from side to side
Until his face was blue:
Come, tell me how you live,I cried
And what it is you do!
He said "I hunt for haddocks' eyes
Among the heather bright
And work them into waistcoat-buttons
In the silent night.
And these I do not sell for gold
Or coin of silvery shine
But for a copper halfpenny
And that will purchase nine.
I sometimes dig for buttered rolls,
Or set limed twigs for crabs;
I sometimes search the grassy knolls
For wheels of Hansom-cabs.
And that's the way(he gave a wink)
By which I get my wealth-
And very gladly will I drink
Your Honour's noble health.
I heard him thenfor I had just
Completed my design
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine.
I thanked much for telling me
The way he got his wealth
But chiefly for his wish that he
Might drink my noble health.
And nowif e'er by chance I put
My fingers into glue
Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot
Into a left-hand shoe
Or if I drop upon my toe
A very heavy weight
I weepfor it reminds me so
Of that old man I used to know--
Whose look was mildwhose speech was slow
Whose hair was whiter than the snow
Whose face was very like a crow
With eyeslike cindersall aglow
Who seemed distracted with his woe
Who rocked his body to and fro
And muttered mumblingly and low
As if his mouth were full of dough
Who snorted like a buffalo--That summer eveninglong ago
A-sitting on a gate.'
As the Knight sang the last words of the balladhe gathered up
the reinsand turned his horse's head along the road by which
they had come. `You've only a few yards to go' he said' down
the hill and over that little brookand then you'll be a Queen--
But you'll stay and see me off first?' he added as Alice turned
with an eager look in the direction to which he pointed. `I
shan't be long. You'll wait and wave your handkerchief when I
get to that turn in the road? I think it'll encourage meyou
`Of course I'll wait' said Alice: `and thank you very much
for coming so far--and for the song--I liked it very much.'
`I hope so' the Knight said doubtfully: `but you didn't cry
so much as I thought you would.'
So they shook handsand then the Knight rode slowly away into
the forest. `It won't take long to see him OFFI expect'
Alice said to herselfas she stood watching him. `There he
goes! Right on his head as usual! Howeverhe gets on again
pretty easily--that comes of having so many things hung round
the horse--' So she went on talking to herselfas she watched
the horse walking leisurely along the roadand the Knight
tumbling offfirst on one side and then on the other. After the
fourth or fifth tumble he reached the turnand then she waved
her handkerchief to himand waited till he was out of sight.
`I hope it encouraged him' she saidas she turned to run
down the hill: `and now for the last brookand to be a Queen!
How grand it sounds!' A very few steps brought her to the edge of
the brook. `The Eighth Square at last!' she cried as she bounded across
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * * *
and threw herself down to rest on a lawn as soft as mosswith little
flower-beds dotted about it here and there. `Ohhow glad I am
to get here! And what IS this on my head?' she exclaimed in a tone
of dismayas she put her hands up to something very heavy
and fitted tight all round her head.
`But how CAN it have got there without my knowing it?' she said
to herselfas she lifted it offand set it on her lap to make
out what it could possibly be.
It was a golden crown.
`Wellthis IS grand!' said Alice. `I never expected I should
be a Queen so soon--and I'll tell you what it isyour
majesty' she went on in a severe tone (she was always rather
fond of scolding herself)`it'll never do for you to be lolling
about on the grass like that! Queens have to be dignifiedyou
So she got up and walked about--rather stiffly just at first
as she was afraid that the crown might come off: but she
comforted herself with the thought that there was nobody to see
her`and if I really am a Queen' she said as she sat down
again`I shall be able to manage it quite well in time.'
Everything was happening so oddly that she didn't feel a bit
surprised at finding the Red Queen and the White Queen sitting
close to herone on each side: she would have liked very much to
ask them how they came therebut she feared it would not be
quite civil. Howeverthere would be no harmshe thoughtin
asking if the game was over. `Pleasewould you tell me--' she
beganlooking timidly at the Red Queen.
`Speak when you're spoken to!' The Queen sharply interrupted her.
`But if everybody obeyed that rule' said Alicewho was always
ready for a little argument`and if you only spoke when you were
spoken toand the other person always waited for YOU to begin
you see nobody would ever say anythingso that--'
`Ridiculous!' cried the Queen. `Whydon't you seechild--'
here she broke off with a frownandafter thinking for a
minutesuddenly changed the subject of the conversation. `What
do you mean by "If you really are a Queen"? What right have you
to call yourself so? You can't be a Queenyou knowtill you've
passed the proper examination. And the sooner we begin itthe better.'
`I only said "if"!' poor Alice pleaded in a piteous tone.
The two Queens looked at each otherand the Red Queen
remarkedwith a little shudder`She SAYS she only said "if"--'
`But she said a great deal more than that!' the White Queen
moanedwringing her hands. `Ohever so much more than that!'
`So you didyou know' the Red Queen said to Alice. `Always
speak the truth--think before you speak--and write it down
`I'm sure I didn't mean--' Alice was beginningbut the Red
Queen interrupted her impatiently.
`That's just what I complain of! You SHOULD have meant! What
do you suppose is the use of child without any meaning? Even a
joke should have some meaning--and a child's more important
than a jokeI hope. You couldn't deny thateven if you tried
with both hands.'
`I don't deny things with my HANDS' Alice objected.
`Nobody said you did' said the Red Queen. `I said you
couldn't if you tried.'
`She's in that state of mind' said the White Queen`that she
wants to deny SOMETHING--only she doesn't know what to deny!'
`A nastyvicious temper' the Red Queen remarked; and then
there was an uncomfortable silence for a minute or two.
The Red Queen broke the silence by saying to the White Queen
`I invite you to Alice's dinner-party this afternoon.'
The White Queen smiled feeblyand said `And I invite YOU.'
`I didn't know I was to have a party at all' said Alice; `but
if there is to be oneI think _I_ ought to invite the guests.'
`We gave you the opportunity of doing it' the Red Queen
remarked: `but I daresay you've not had many lessons in manners
`Manners are not taught in lessons' said Alice. `Lessons
teach you to do sumsand things of that sort.'
`And you do Addition?' the White Queen asked. `What's one and
one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?'
`I don't know' said Alice. `I lost count.'
`She can't do Addition' the Red Queen interrupted.
`Can you do Subtraction? Take nine from eight.'
`Nine from eight I can'tyou know' Alice replied very readily:
`She can't do Subtraction' said the White Queen. `Can you do
Division? Divide a loaf by a knife--what's the answer to that?'
`I suppose--' Alice was beginningbut the Red Queen answered
for her. `Bread-and-butterof course. Try another Subtraction
sum. Take a bone from a dog: what remains?'
Alice considered. `The bone wouldn't remainof courseif I
took it--and the dog wouldn't remain; it would come to bite me
--and I'm sure I shouldn't remain!'
`Then you think nothing would remain?' said the Red Queen.
`I think that's the answer.'
`Wrongas usual' said the Red Queen: `the dog's temper would
`But I don't see how--'
`Whylook here!' the Red Queen cried. `The dog would lose its
`Perhaps it would' Alice replied cautiously.
`Then if the dog went awayits temper would remain!' the
Queen exclaimed triumphantly.
Alice saidas gravely as she could`They might go different
ways.' But she couldn't help thinking to herself`What dreadful
nonsense we ARE talking!'
`She can't do sums a BIT!' the Queens said togetherwith great
`Can YOU do sums?' Alice saidturning suddenly on the White
Queenfor she didn't like being found fault with so much.
The Queen gasped and shut her eyes. `I can do Addition' `if
you give me time--but I can do Subtractionunder ANY
`Of course you know your A B C?' said the Red Queen.
`To be sure I do.' said Alice.
`So do I' the White Queen whispered: `we'll often say it over
togetherdear. And I'll tell you a secret--I can read words
of one letter! Isn't THAT grand! Howeverdon't be discouraged.
You'll come to it in time.'
Here the Red Queen began again. `Can you answer useful
questions?' she said. `How is bread made?'
`I know THAT!' Alice cried eagerly. `You take some flour--'
`Where do you pick the flower?' the White Queen asked. `In a
gardenor in the hedges?'
`Wellit isn't PICKED at all' Alice explained: `it's GROUND
`How many acres of ground?' said the White Queen. `You mustn't
leave out so many things.'
`Fan her head!' the Red Queen anxiously interrupted. `She'll
be feverish after so much thinking.' So they set to work and
fanned her with bunches of leavestill she had to beg them to
leave offit blew her hair about so.
`She's all right again now' said the Red Queen. `Do you know
Languages? What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?'
`Fiddle-de-dee's not English' Alice replied gravely.
`Who ever said it was?' said the Red Queen.
Alice thought she saw a way out of the difficulty this time.
`If you'll tell me what language "fiddle-de-dee" isI'll tell
you the French for it!' she exclaimed triumphantly.
But the Red Queen drew herself up rather stifflyand said
`Queens never make bargains.'
`I wish Queens never asked questions' Alice thought to
`Don't let us quarrel' the White Queen said in an anxious
tone. `What is the cause of lightning?'
`The cause of lightning' Alice said very decidedlyfor she
felt quite certain about this`is the thunder--nono!' she
hastily corrected herself. `I meant the other way.'
`It's too late to correct it' said the Red Queen: `when
you've once said a thingthat fixes itand you must take the
`Which reminds me--' the White Queen saidlooking down and
nervously clasping and unclasping her hands`we had SUCH a
thunderstorm last Tuesday--I mean one of the last set of
Alice was puzzled. `In OUR country' she remarked`there's
only one day at a time.'
The Red Queen said`That's a poor thin way of doing things.
Now HEREwe mostly have days and nights two or three at a time
and sometimes in the winter we take as many as five nights
together--for warmthyou know.'
`Are five nights warmer than one nightthen?' Alice ventured
`Five times as warmof course.'
`But they should be five times as COLDby the same rule--'
`Just so!' cried the Red Queen. `Five times as warmAND five
times as cold--just as I'm five times as rich as you areAND
five times as clever!'
Alice sighed and gave it up. `It's exactly like a riddle with
no answer!' she thought.
`Humpty Dumpty saw it too' the White Queen went on in a low
voicemore as if she were talking to herself. `He came to the
door with a corkscrew in his hand--'
`What did he want?' said the Red Queen.
`He said he WOULD come in' the White Queen went on`because
he was looking for a hippopotamus. Nowas it happenedthere
wasn't such a thing in the housethat morning.'
`Is there generally?' Alice asked in an astonished tone.
`Wellonly on Thursdays' said the Queen.
`I know what he came for' said Alice: `he wanted to punish
Here the White Queen began again. `It was SUCH a thunderstorm
you can't think!' (She NEVER couldyou know' said the Red
Queen.) `And part of the roof came offand ever so much thunder
got in--and it went rolling round the room in great lumps-and
knocking over the tables and things--till I was so
frightenedI couldn't remember my own name!'
Alice thought to herself`I never should TRY to remember my
name in the middle of an accident! Where would be the use of
it?' but she did not say this aloudfor fear of hurting the poor
`Your Majesty must excuse her' the Red Queen said to Alice
taking one of the White Queen's hands in her ownand gently
stroking it: `she means wellbut she can't help saying foolish
thingsas a general rule.'
The White Queen looked timidly at Alicewho felt she OUGHT to
say something kindbut really couldn't think of anything at the
`She never was really well brought up' the Red Queen went on:
`but it's amazing how good-tempered she is! Pat her on the head
and see how pleased she'll be!' But this was more than Alice had
courage to do.
`A little kindness--and putting her hair in papers--would
do wonders with her--'
The White Queen gave a deep sighand laid her head on Alice's
shoulder. `I AM so sleepy?' she moaned.
`She's tiredpoor thing!' said the Red Queen. `Smooth her
hair--lend her your nightcap--and sing her a soothing
`I haven't got a nightcap with me' said Aliceas she tried to
obey the first direction: `and I don't know any soothing
`I must do it myselfthen' said the Red Queenand she began:
`Hush-a-by ladyin Alice's lap!
Till the feast's readywe've time for a nap:
When the feast's overwe'll go to the ball--
Red Queenand White Queenand Aliceand all!
`And now you know the words' she addedas she put her head
down on Alice's other shoulder`just sing it through to ME. I'm
getting sleepytoo.' In another moment both Queens were fast
asleepand snoring loud.
`What AM I to do?' exclaimed Alicelooking about in great
perplexityas first one round headand then the otherrolled
down from her shoulderand lay like a heavy lump in her lap.
`I don't think it EVER happened beforethat any one had to take
care of two Queens asleep at once! Nonot in all the History of
England--it couldn'tyou knowbecause there never was more
than one Queen at a time. `Do wake upyou heavy things!'
she went on in an impatient tone; but there was no answer
but a gentle snoring.
The snoring got more distinct every minuteand sounded more
like a tune: at last she could even make out the wordsand she
listened so eagerly thatwhen the two great heads vanished from
her lapshe hardly missed them.
She was standing before an arched doorway over which were the
words QUEEN ALICE in large lettersand on each side of the arch
there was a bell-handle; one was marked `Visitors' Bell' and the
other `Servants' Bell.'
`I'll wait till the song's over' thought Alice`and then I'll
ring--the--WHICH bell must I ring?' she went onvery much
puzzled by the names. `I'm not a visitorand I'm not a servant.
There OUGHT to be one marked "Queen you know--'
Just then the door opened a little way, and a creature with a
long beak put its head out for a moment and said `No admittance
till the week after next!' and shut the door again with a bang.
Alice knocked and rang in vain for a long time, but at last, a
very old Frog, who was sitting under a tree, got up and hobbled
slowly towards her: he was dressed in bright yellow, and had
enormous boots on.
`What is it, now?' the Frog said in a deep hoarse whisper.
Alice turned round, ready to find fault with anybody. `Where's
the servant whose business it is to answer the door?' she began
`Which door?' said the Frog.
Alice almost stamped with irritation at the slow drawl in which
he spoke. `THIS door, of course!'
The Frog looked at the door with his large dull eyes for a minute:
then he went nearer and rubbed it with his thumb, as if he were
trying whether the paint would come off; then he looked at Alice.
`To answer the door?' he said. `What's it been asking of?'
He was so hoarse that Alice could scarcely hear him.
`I don't know what you mean,' she said.
`I talks English, doesn't I?' the Frog went on. `Or are you deaf?
What did it ask you?'
`Nothing!' Alice said impatiently. `I've been knocking at it!'
`Shouldn't do that--shouldn't do that--' the Frog muttered.
`Vexes it, you know.' Then he went up and gave the door a kick
with one of his great feet. `You let IT alone,' he panted out,
as he hobbled back to his tree, `and it'll let YOU alone, you know.'
At this moment the door was flung open, and a shrill voice was
`To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said,
I've a sceptre in handI've a crown on my head;
Let the Looking-Glass creatureswhatever they be
Come and dine with the Red Queenthe White Queenand me."'
And hundreds of voices joined in the chorus:
`Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can
And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:
Put cats in the coffeeand mice in the tea-
And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!'
Then followed a confused noise of cheeringand Alice thought
to herself`Thirty times three makes ninety. I wonder if any
one's counting?' In a minute there was silence againand the
same shrill voice sang another verse;
`"O Looking-Glass creatures quothe Alice, draw near!
'Tis an honour to see mea favour to hear:
'Tis a privilege high to have dinner and tea
Along with the Red Queenthe White Queenand me!"'
Then came the chorus again: -
`Then fill up the glasses with treacle and ink
Or anything else that is pleasant to drink:
Mix sand with the ciderand wool with the wine-
And welcome Queen Alice with ninety-times-nine!'
`Ninety times nine!' Alice repeated in despair`Ohthat'll
never be done! I'd better go in at once--' and there was a
dead silence the moment she appeared.
Alice glanced nervously along the tableas she walked up the
large halland noticed that there were about fifty guestsof
all kinds: some were animalssome birdsand there were even a
few flowers among them. `I'm glad they've come without waiting
to be asked' she thought: `I should never have known who were
the right people to invite!'
There were three chairs at the head of the table; the Red and
White Queens had already taken two of thembut the middle one
was empty. Alice sat down in itrather uncomfortable in the
silenceand longing for some one to speak.
At last the Red Queen began. `You've missed the soup and
fish' she said. `Put on the joint!' And the waiters set a leg
of mutton before Alicewho looked at it rather anxiouslyas she
had never had to carve a joint before.
`You look a little shy; let me introduce you to that leg of
mutton' said the Red Queen. `Alice--Mutton; Mutton--Alice.'
The leg of mutton got up in the dish and made a little bow to
Alice; and Alice returned the bownot knowing whether to be
frightened or amused.
`May I give you a slice?' she saidtaking up the knife and
forkand looking from one Queen to the other.
`Certainly not' the Red Queen saidvery decidedly:
`it isn't etiquette to cut any one you've been introduced to.
Remove the joint!' And the waiters carried it offand brought
a large plum-pudding in its place.
`I won't be introduced to the puddingplease' Alice said rather hastily
`or we shall get no dinner at all. May I give you some?'
But the Red Queen looked sulkyand growled `Pudding--Alice;
Alice--Pudding. Remove the pudding!' and the waiters took it
away so quickly that Alice couldn't return its bow.
Howevershe didn't see why the Red Queen should be the only
one to give orderssoas an experimentshe called out `Waiter!
Bring back the pudding!' and there it was again in a moment like
a conjuring-trick. It was so large that she couldn't help
feeling a LITTLE shy with itas she had been with the mutton;
howevershe conquered her shyness by a great effort and cut a
slice and handed it to the Red Queen.
`What impertinence!' said the Pudding. `I wonder how you'd
like itif I were to cut a slice out of YOUyou creature!'
It spoke in a thicksuety sort of voiceand Alice hadn't a
word to say in reply: she could only sit and look at it and gasp.
`Make a remark' said the Red Queen: `it's ridiculous to leave
all the conversation to the pudding!'
`Do you knowI've had such a quantity of poetry repeated to me
to-day' Alice begana little frightened at finding thatthe
moment she opened her lipsthere was dead silenceand all eyes
were fixed upon her; `and it's a very curious thingI think-every
poem was about fishes in some way. Do you know why they're
so fond of fishesall about here?'
She spoke to the Red Queenwhose answer was a little wide of
the mark. `As to fishes' she saidvery slowly and solemnly
putting her mouth close to Alice's ear`her White Majesty knows
a lovely riddle--all in poetry--all about fishes. Shall she
`Her Red Majesty's very kind to mention it' the White Queen
murmured into Alice's other earin a voice like the cooing of a
pigeon. `It would be SUCH a treat! May I?'
`Please do' Alice said very politely.
The White Queen laughed with delightand stroked Alice's
cheek. Then she began:
`"Firstthe fish must be caught."
That is easy: a babyI thinkcould have caught it.
Next, the fish must be bought.
That is easy: a pennyI thinkwould have bought it.
Now cook me the fish!
That is easyand will not take more than a minute.
Let it lie in a dish!
That is easybecause it already is in it.
Bring it here! Let me sup!
It is easy to set such a dish on the table.
Take the dish-cover up!
AhTHAT is so hard that I fear I'm unable!
For it holds it like glue--
Holds the lid to the dishwhile it lies in the middle:
Which is easiest to do
Un-dish-cover the fishor dishcover the riddle?'
`Take a minute to think about itand then guess' said the Red Queen.
`Meanwhilewe'll drink your health--Queen Alice's health!'
she screamed at the top of her voiceand all the guests
began drinking it directlyand very queerly they managed it:
some of them put their glasses upon their heads like extinguishers
and drank all that trickled down their faces--others upset the decanters
and drank the wine as it ran off the edges of the table--and three of them
(who looked like kangaroos) scrambled into the dish of roast mutton
and began eagerly lapping up the gravy`just like pigs in a trough!'
`You ought to return thanks in a neat speech' the Red Queen said
frowning at Alice as she spoke.
`We must support youyou know' the White Queen whisperedas
Alice got up to do itvery obedientlybut a little frightened.
`Thank you very much' she whispered in reply`but I can do
quite well without.'
`That wouldn't be at all the thing' the Red Queen said very
decidedly: so Alice tried to submit to it with a good grace.
(`And they DID push so!' she said afterwardswhen she was
telling her sister the history of the feast. `You would have
thought they wanted to squeeze me flat!')
In fact it was rather difficult for her to keep in her place
while she made her speech: the two Queens pushed her soone on
each sidethat they nearly lifted her up into the air: `I rise
to return thanks--' Alice began: and she really DID rise as
she spokeseveral inches; but she got hold of the edge of the
tableand managed to pull herself down again.
`Take care of yourself!' screamed the White Queenseizing
Alice's hair with both her hands. `Something's going to happen!'
And then (as Alice afterwards described it) all sorts of thing
happened in a moment. The candles all grew up to the ceiling
looking something like a bed of rushes with fireworks at the top.
As to the bottlesthey each took a pair of plateswhich they
hastily fitted on as wingsand sowith forks for legswent
fluttering about in all directions: `and very like birds they
look' Alice thought to herselfas well as she could in the
dreadful confusion that was beginning.
At this moment she heard a hoarse laugh at her sideand turned
to see what was the matter with the White Queen; butinstead of
the Queenthere was the leg of mutton sitting in the chair.
`Here I am!' cried a voice from the soup tureenand Alice turned
againjust in time to see the Queen's broad good-natured face
grinning at her for a moment over the edge of the tureenbefore
she disappeared into the soup.
There was not a moment to be lost. Already several of the
guests were lying down in the dishesand the soup ladle was
walking up the table towards Alice's chairand beckoning to her
impatiently to get out of its way.
`I can't stand this any longer!' she cried as she jumped up and
seized the table-cloth with both hands: one good pulland
platesdishesguestsand candles came crashing down together
in a heap on the floor.
`And as for YOU' she went onturning fiercely upon the Red Queen
whom she considered as the cause of all the mischief--but the Queen
was no longer at her side--she had suddenly dwindled down to the size
of a little dolland was now on the tablemerrily running round
and round after her own shawlwhich was trailing behind her.
At any other timeAlice would have felt surprised at this
but she was far too much excited to be surprised at anything NOW.
`As for YOU' she repeatedcatching hold of the little creature
in the very act of jumping over a bottle which had just lighted
upon the table`I'll shake you into a kittenthat I will!'
She took her off the table as she spokeand shook her
backwards and forwards with all her might.
The Red Queen made no resistance whatever; only her face grew
very smalland her eyes got large and green: and stillas
Alice went on shaking hershe kept on growing shorter--and
fatter--and softer--and rounder--and-
--and it really WAS a kittenafter all.
Which Dreamed it?
`Your majesty shouldn't purr so loud' Alice saidrubbing her
eyesand addressing the kittenrespectfullyyet with some
severity. `You woke me out of oh! such a nice dream! And you've
been along with meKitty--all through the Looking-Glass world.
Did you know itdear?'
It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made
the remark) thatwhatever you say to themthey ALWAYS purr.
`If them would only purr for "yes" and mew for "no or any rule
of that sort,' she had said, `so that one could keep up a
conversation! But how CAN you talk with a person if they always
say the same thing?'
On this occasion the kitten only purred: and it was impossible
to guess whether it meant `yes' or `no.'
So Alice hunted among the chessmen on the table till she had
found the Red Queen: then she went down on her knees on the
hearth-rug, and put the kitten and the Queen to look at each
other. `Now, Kitty!' she cried, clapping her hands triumphantly.
`Confess that was what you turned into!'
(`But it wouldn't look at it,' she said, when she was
explaining the thing afterwards to her sister: `it turned away
its head, and pretended not to see it: but it looked a LITTLE
ashamed of itself, so I think it MUST have been the Red Queen.')
`Sit up a little more stiffly, dear!' Alice cried with a merry
laugh. `And curtsey while you're thinking what to--what to
purr. It saves time, remember!' And she caught it up and gave
it one little kiss, `just in honour of having been a Red Queen.'
`Snowdrop, my pet!' she went on, looking over her shoulder at
the White Kitten, which was still patiently undergoing its
toilet, `when WILL Dinah have finished with your White Majesty, I
wonder? That must be the reason you were so untidy in my dream--
Dinah! do you know that you're scrubbing a White Queen?
Really, it's most disrespectful of you!
`And what did DINAH turn to, I wonder?' she prattled on, as she
settled comfortably down, with one elbow in the rug, and her chin
in her hand, to watch the kittens. `Tell me, Dinah, did you turn
to Humpty Dumpty? I THINK you did--however, you'd better not
mention it to your friends just yet, for I'm not sure.
`By the way, Kitty, if only you'd been really with me in my
dream, there was one thing you WOULD have enjoyed--I had such a
quantity of poetry said to me, all about fishes! To-morrow
morning you shall have a real treat. All the time you're eating
your breakfast, I'll repeat The Walrus and the Carpenter" to
you; and then you can make believe it's oystersdear!
`NowKittylet's consider who it was that dreamed it all.
This is a serious questionmy dearand you should NOT go on
licking your paw like that--as if Dinah hadn't washed you this
morning! You seeKittyit MUST have been either me or the Red
King. He was part of my dreamof course--but then I was part
of his dreamtoo! WAS it the Red KingKitty? You were his
wifemy dearso you ought to know--OhKittyDO help to
settle it! I'm sure your paw can wait!' But the provoking
kitten only began on the other pawand pretended it hadn't heard
Which do YOU think it was?
A boat beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July--
Children three that nestle near
Eager eye and willing ear
Pleased a simple tale to hear--
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die.
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts mephantomwise
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yetthe tale to hear
Eager eye and willing ear
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie
Dreaming as the days go by
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream-Lingering
in the golden gleam-Life
what is it but a dream?